You know you have real problems with piracy when your whole retail operation is reproduced down to the finest detail. Poor Apple. Bad China.
Piracy and counterfeit products have been a problem in China for years now, with big companies such as Apple and Microsoft taking the brunt of the burden. But there’s now an interesting twist to the tale, with at least three fake Apple Stores discovered in the country. And they’re so convincing (at least on first sight) that most shoppers won’t be able to tell they’re being hoodwinked.
Apple currently has three official stores in China, with plans to open more in the next few years. China is very keen on Apple and its products, and is therefore a highly lucrative market for the company. But that ability to squeeze profits from the territory is reliant on piracy and counterfeiting of its products being kept to a minimum.
What I don’t think many people ever expected was for Apple’s retail outlets to be copied lock, stock, and barrel, but that is exactly what a blogger called BirdAbroad claims has happened.
The so-called citizen reporter spotted what she thought was an Apple Store in Kunming. Everything looked right, with the iconic Apple logo, wood paneling, circular staircase, and employees sporting their ‘Look at me, I’m a frickin’ genius’ clothes all present.
There were also lots of Apple products for sale, obviously. But surprisingly they were real rather than fake. Unlike the store itself. The employees, it should be noted, seemed to think they were actually working for Apple itself. BirdAbroad then found two other similar setups in the neighborhood.
The big problem for Apple is that no one seems sure whether the company will actually be able to shut these fake stores down. And now that word is out you can be sure more will be opening across China. However, as the ones in Kunming at least are selling real products, will Apple actually care?