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Chinese authorities shut imposter 'Apple stores' - as more are uncovered elsewhere

Two of the five shops masquerading as Apple Stores have been shut down by authorities for not having the right licence.

An exterior view of an 'Apple Store' in Kunming, which isn't an official Apple outlet.
An exterior view of an 'Apple Store' in Kunming, which isn't an official Apple outlet.
Image: ChinaFotoPress/Photocome

AUTHORITIES IN CHINA have shut down two of the five shops masquerading as Apple Stores in the city of Kunming.

The five stores came to worldwide prominence last week when an American blogger living in the city stumbled across the stores, which give off every impression of being bona fide Apple outlets, and posted photos to her blog.

Though the shops are designed to replicate the genuine article in every way – selling what appear to be genuine Apple products – there are some minor telltale signs of its impropriety.

For example, the shop’s entrance features the words ‘Apple Store’ – words which are never used in legitimate shops – while the staircase in the shop also seemed to be unsteady and badly put together.

But the overall impression of the stores was so convincing that even its staff – decked out in what appeared to be official staff clothing – were convinced they worked for a bona fide store.

Chinese authorities shut imposter 'Apple stores' - as more are uncovered elsewhere
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The BBC reports that two of the five imposter stores have now been shut – though not because of any trademark violation or complaints on Apple’s part.

Instead, the stores have been closed down because they do not possess the retail licences required to open a store in the country.

In the case of other stores, authorities have no option but to allow them continue operating unless Apple actively seeks to stop them.

It appears, however, that the wave of fake Apple stores does not end in China. As the Guardian notes, commentators on BirdAbroad’s blog have pointed out that similarly fraudulent stores have shown up in Asia, Europe and South America.

The stores have shown up in Spain, Slovania and Croatia, as well as in Venezuela and Colombia, and in Burma. BirdAbroad’s readers have also identified a number of other Apple Stores in China which are also fake, and don’t appear on Apple’s official list of outlets.

Previously: Here’s the Apple store selling iPhones and iPads that’s actually a fake >

More: Apple on brink of becoming most valuable company on Earth >

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