Two “fake” Apple stores were recently ordered closed by local Chinese government officials in the city of Kunming.
The government said it had investigated all the Apple shops in the city – located in southwestern China – looking for frauds, according to a report from HotHardware.com.
Reuters said the government inspected some “300 shops in the city.”
They found what Reuters described as “five self-branded ‘Apple Stores’ … operating without authorization from Apple.”
“The closures are not about cloning the store look, appearance, logo, etc., but instead because the stores did not have an official business permit,” HotHardware.com said.
One store was applying for a reseller license from Apple, according to Chinese authorities quoted in media reports.
Chang Puyun, spokesman for Kunming's business bureau, issued a statement that warned “media” not to “jump to conclusions.”
“Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products,” he was quoted by HotHardware.com. “China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights and the stores weren't selling fake products."
HotHardware.com also reports that Apple has just four “genuine” Apple Stores in China. Two are in Beijing and two are in Shanghai.
Apple also has 13 authorized resellers in Kunming, not including the new applicant, HotHardware.com said.
In a report carried on TechZone360, an American who lives in Kunming said last week that she and her husband found three shops “masquerading as bona fide Apple stores” in the city. She took photographs and posted them on her blog.
She also commented on the blog as to what they saw first-hand. “They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue t-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks,” she said.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser adds that the three stores were not among the authorized resellers listed on Apple website.Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves