Fake Chinese Apple store has even staff fooled
China's passion for iPads and iPhones has triggered widespread cloning and even brawls.
Now, it has gone further with a fake Apple store so convincing even the staff think they work for Steve Jobs.
The store, in the southwestern city of Kunming, was uncovered by an American blogger who was initially fooled, before she noticed not everything was as it seemed.
At first glance, the signs, computers and layout of the shop all look exactly like a genuine Apple store, says the blogger, who posts under the name BirdAbroad.
Photos posted by the blogger show the employees wearing Apple's trademark blue T-shirts with name badges hanging around their necks.
But a closer look reveals the winding stairs going up to the chill-out area are poorly made, the walls have not been painted well, and the shopfront sign says "Apple Store" whereas the real deal just sports the now-famous fruit logo.
The employees, meanwhile, all genuinely believe they work for Apple, said BirdAbroad, who asked to remain anonymous when contacted by AFP on Thursday.
"I do not know if the computers were real or fake - they seemed real, but it can be hard to tell," she said. "As of last night, the store was still open."
She added that a quick walk around the corner revealed two other rip-off Apple stores - one of which sported a sign saying "Apple Stoer".
The Apple website lists four official stores in China - two in Beijing and two in Shanghai, and none in Kunming.
It has a list of approved retailers that sell its products, but none of those in Kunming corresponds to the fake store's address, according to the blogger.
A spokeswoman for Apple China declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
China is home to the biggest counterfeit market in the world, and despite repeated government pledges to root out fake goods, these are still widely available throughout the country.
As the craze for all things Apple slowly spreads around China, fake iPhones and iPods have also emerged.
The news, however, is unlikely to have an impact on the US-based IT giant, which on Tuesday posted record sales and profits in the recent quarter as sales of iPhones and iPads more than doubled, helped by huge demand in Asia.
Life & Style blogs
Plus mortgage news roundup, and buy-to-let guide
Dozens of empty homes in two of Liverpool’s most deprived areas will be brought back into use thanks...
A roundup of the latest property news
The 10 Best new smartphones
Microsoft drops controversial Xbox One DRM pre-owned game and connection policies following outcry from gamers
End the scepticism! Environment Secretary Owen Paterson urges UK to adopt use of GM crop technology
Stripes set to be big for Dolce and Gabbana as fashion designers get 20 months in prison for tax evasion
Study claims ‘inner peace’ can help pupils to cope with exams
- 1 ‘Hello, NME? I’d like to complain about your Tom Odell review. Why? I’m his dad’
- 2 Richard Nieuwenhuizen death: Six teenagers and 50-year-old father convicted of manslaughter in shocking case of referee killed over a game of football
- 3 Exclusive: Newcastle United's star talent-spotter Graham Carr on brink as Joe Kinnear sparks walkout at St James' Park
- 4 Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats
- 5 From charmer to bully: My encounter with Charles Saatchi
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£550 - £600 per day: Orgtel: C++ Python Developer - Banking - London - Up to £...
£200 - £250 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Java Developer - Urgent Requirem...
£40000 - £47000 per annum + BENEFITS : Progressive Recruitment: Sap Consultant...
£45000 - £60000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PP functional consulta...