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Chinese Authorities Close Two Fake Apple Stores Over Permit Issues

Last week, we covered the story of fake Apple retail stores popping up in China and noted a follow-up report from The Wall Street Journal in which employees of the stores shared their thoughts about simply wanting to provide the highest levels of service to their customers.

Fake Apple retail store in Kunming, China

Reuters now reports that officials in the city of Kunming where the fake Apple stores were publicized have discovered five such stores and have shut down two of them. The shutdowns were due to a lack of proper permits, however, rather than for any sort of infringement of fraud related to mimicking Apple's store designs as investigations on that front continue.
"Media should not misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions. Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products," said Chang Puyun, spokesman of Kunming government's business bureau.

"China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights and the stores weren't selling fake products."

Officials are investigating whether Apple had applied with the Chinese government to have its store design and layout protected by law, Chang added.
The report notes that Chinese law prohibits companies from copying the "look and feel" of other stores but that enforcement of those laws is "often spotty". Many customers of the stores in question have expressed outrage over the news, feeling that they had been misled into thinking that the stores were genuine Apple-run shops and worrying that they had been sold fake products.

Apple has of course been making a significant effort at penetrating the Chinese market, having opened four large retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai and planning to open several dozen more stores there. During last week's earnings conference call, Apple executives noted that the company's sales in "greater China" totaled $3.8 billion for the quarter, six times that of the year-ago quarter.

Top Rated Comments

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36 months ago
They should go to Kinkos and put a couple of these jumbo size in the store window.

Rating: 14 Positives
36 months ago



"China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights ..."

Uh, no you haven't, Hop Sing. See that really big Apple logo outside of every store? That's just one, for starters.


Who's "Hop Sing"?

Oh, oh, I get it.

Racist prick.
Rating: 8 Positives
36 months ago
"China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights ..."

Uh, no you haven't, Hop Sing. See that really big Apple logo outside of every store? That's just one, for starters.
Rating: 6 Positives
36 months ago
Am I the only one that's not blowing this out of proportion?

Since when does Apple have a trademark on white stores with a sleak, modern design? The only illegal thing going on is using the Apple logo (And only the logo, A generic name like "Apple Store" -and App Store for that matter- would never be protected in China) on the stores. In Chinese standards, that's pretty harmless.

Other than that, they are selling genuine Apple products. I am of course wondering how they got them, but I seriously doubt they stole them or got them through any illegal activities: the quantities (multiple stores filled with products) is WAY too large to be stolen, and Foxconn and other Apple partners would never allow gray or illegal sales to secure their bond with Apple.

It seems to me, like any other reseller (Best Buy, Mediamarket in the EU, ...) they got the products from Apple and are selling them at a profit. They just happen to do so in white, sleek stores.

So in short: the Apple logo has to go, otherwise these stores are perfect. I think most of you guys are way to obsessed by the Apple brand and are being unreasonable here.
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago
This is a sign for Apple to hurry up and open more Apple Stoers (I mean Stores) in China.
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago

Still, China's contempt for anything Western means the practice won't be stopped by the authorities, even if publicly they say otherwise.


Contempt?

They're copying the West left and right and moving here for work. It's not like it's an isolationist country anymore.

Really, don't flatter yourself.
Rating: 4 Positives
36 months ago

Officials are investigating whether Apple had applied with the Chinese government to have its store design and layout protected by law, Chang added.


Not really the point. These fake stores were deceiving customers into thinking that they were making purchases from Apple itself; that is surely illegal.

Still, China's contempt for anything Western means the practice won't be stopped by the authorities, even if publicly they say otherwise.
Rating: 4 Positives
36 months ago
I have noticed many are saying "Because they are selling genuine Apple products, what harm could be done by operating these stores?"

The whole point is -- These are not real Apple stores, the employees are not real, trained Apple employees, thus the "Apple Store experience" is not controlled by the company, as it is in the real Apple Stores. Apple dictates how things are done (and sold) in their stores, the employees are instructed on how to conduct business with customers, and in these "fake" Apple Stores, Apple has no control over what goes on, as far as the customer experience goes. The physical store is not up to Apple specs, and the products offered at the stores may not be the exact line-up, brands, and selection that Apple has approved to appear in the stores. Thus the physical store make-up, the employees, and the product selection is not up to Apple-spec....it is not an Apple authorized, trained, and controlled experience. So, these stores should be shutdown --- they are not offering the customers the "official" experience that Apple wants to deliver to the customers. That is the point I am trying to make.
Rating: 4 Positives
36 months ago
I am amazed by the number of people who are defending these fake stores. This isn't just about trademark violations or copying a store layout. It is fraud. Plain and simple. How is that acceptable?
Rating: 4 Positives
36 months ago
Shut down the phony Chinese restaurants operating in the U.S. They're all cheap imitations of Asian cuisine, not authorized to do business or serve customers.

Copying the "look and feel" of the Orient is a crime - Americans need to respect Asian customs and law if they want to do business.
Rating: 3 Positives

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