Fake Apple stores in Kunming, China shut down


(CBS/ZDNet Asia) - Two fake Apple stores have been shut down in the remote city of Kunming, China. The Metropolitan Times reports the shops were targeted due to lack of business licenses, rather than intellectual property or copyright infringement.

The international media took notice of the fake stores when 27-year-old American blogger, BirdAbroad, wrote about the odd placement of an Apple store in what the she called "the end of the Earth." Upon further examination inconsistencies were noted, including a misspelled sign and incorrect employee name tags. A total of five knock-off stores were uncovered in Kunming.

All five shops looked like Apple stores and carried authentic products, but were not authorized retailers. According to the blogger, even the employees were under the impression that they were working for the American company.

Let the backlash begin! AppleInsider reports angry customers are returning to the store to seeking proof of authenticity.

Larry Dignan of ZDNet observed that Apple is one of the few cases where "the Chinese consumer wants the real Apple over a knock-off." The idea of counterfeit Apple products comes as a shock, even in a country known for its high-quality knock-offs.

The international scrutiny hasn't gone unnoticed. According to the Metropolitan Times, the Kunming Trade and Industry Bureau launched an investigation looking into more than 300 electronic stores in the city's four major districts after the fake Apple stores were discovered.

Apple is one of the world's most recognizable brands. The company's popular products like the MacBook, iPhone and iPad have a cult-like following. According to a Forbes report in January of 2011, the computer giant is on its way to becoming the world's most valuable company.