Chinese officials have closed two out of five phoney Apple shops, but not due to copyright infringement
Two fake Apple shops have been shut down by Chinese officials following inspections over the weekend, according to local reports.
The stores in the city of Kunming must close because they do not have business licences, not because of trademark or copyright infringements.
A total of five self-appointed “Apple Stores” were discovered in the city but all – including those closed – were found to be selling genuine Apple products.
The remarkable copies became an Internet sensation last week after three stores were stumbled upon by an American ex-pat blogger living in the small southwestern city.
The main store featured on the blog is not one of those closed down as it has the correct licenses, according to reports.
The greatest form of flattery
The Apple brand is widely reported to be the most valuable in the world and its products are wildly popular in China, where counterfeiting is rampant.
The opportunists behind the stores have gone to great lengths to imitate Apple’s stylish look, issuing staff with blue replica Apple t-shirts and name tags, furnishing the store with light-coloured wood counter-tops and a winding staircase.
But, BirdAbroad says, the signage in the stores state ‘Apple Store’, which never appears in genuine Apple stores, the stairs are poorly made and the walls not painted properly. Photos even show one store where the sign outside reads ‘Apple Stroe’.
China has become the second-largest market, after the United States, for apps that run on the smartphone and tablet, according to Distimo, a Dutch company that tracks the popularity of apps.
China’s four stores in Beijing (pictured) and Shanghai are claimed to be the company’s most visited in the world and China’s Xinhua news agency reported today that Apple is further expanding with a third store in Shanghai.