updated 06:35 pm EDT, Sat July 23, 2011
China looks into fake Apple store claims
Government officials in Kunming on Saturday said they were looking into recently publicized fake Apple stores as part of a new sweep of electronics stores in the area. The Xinhua news agency planed to look into both their basic business licenses as well as any illegal uses of branding and their supply channels. Results would come "soon," one official said.
Fake retail stores are relatively common in China, but the Apple store clones are relatively new and rare. They also remain the easiest to spot given Apple's uniform store layouts and shipping channel terms. Managers have openly admitted to operating without Apple's approval and often simply buy goods from authorized shops to turn around and sell it at a marked up price. Only some of the lower-level retail staff have been fooled into thinking they work at legitimate stores.
Apple has 13 authorized third-party stores in Kunming, but all four of its official stores operate in Beijing or Shanghai. The company hasn't signalled an intent to operate in southwestern China but might do so given a 600 percent increase in revenue from China over the past year as well as Kunming's population of about 6.8 million.