updated 07:20 am EDT, Mon July 25, 2011
China closes two fake Apple shops over licenses
Officials in Kunming ordered two of five discovered fake Apple stores in the city to close. The two were found to be operating without business licenses and couldn't run regardless of permissions. The originally discovered store is still open as it not only has a license but is applying to become an official Apple reseller.
The officials were checking to see whether or not Apple had gone so far to protect the look and feel of its stores, which could force most of the stores to shutter. The one applying for a reseller license is likely to be forced into making some changes given its attempt to appear like an official store, not just a reseller.
Currently, the stores are believed to sell actual Apple products but to go about it by buying the products from officially sanctioned stores to turn around and sell them at its own. About 13 official resellers exist in Kunming, but no official Apple stores exist. Some of those at the store that set off the investigation were tricked into believing they actually represented Apple.
In spite of laws ostensibly banning imitative stores, copies are a commonplace sight in China and the law is only loosely enforced. Apple has an advantage in having a distinct look that has led to spotting fakes more easily.