Home Your IT Home IT iCloners clone Apple store for fun and profit in China

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China (or is it iChina?) is the king of the cloners, the land where fake electronics can be more popular than the real deal, where intellectual property rights are but figments of western imagination and where not just electronics are faked, but even entire shopfronts.


Whenever I've railed against retailers for NOT doing their utmost to copy the renaissance that is Apple's retail operations, I never actually thought any of them would copy Apple so exactly that they'd end up selling Apple products in a fake Apple store.

Indeed, judging by the pictures over at the BirdAbroad blog, where the author found what at first glance looked like a genuine Apple Store in the far-off Chinese city of Kunming, far far away from the genuine Apple stores in Beijing and Shanghai.

Poorly painted walls and badly finished staircases gave the game away, as did the words 'Apple Store' above the well-known Apple logo, being three simple things that Apple never does.

Amazingly, within a few minutes walk of this store are TWO more fake stores, with one even having the words 'Apple Stoer' listed in that typical Chinese style, where the person putting up the sign clearly speaks zero English or they'd not have made such an elementary and 'give-the-game-away' mistake.

While the store appears to have genuine iPad 2 models, MacBook Pros, iPhone 4 models, a wall of accessories and more, right down to blue T-Shirt wearing staff members, the BirdAbroad blogger couldn't actually tell whether the products on display were genuine, or not.

I mean, we're dealing with China here. The systems could have fallen off the back of a truck, they could have been surplus stocks made without Apple's knowledge, they could be PCs hacked to run Mac OS X, they could be anything - even 'genuine'.

After all, the Kunming guys are supposed to be resellers - they may be doing just that, but doing it in a store that simply rips off Apple's official stores, safe in the knowledge that they're deep in Chinese territory, far, far away from Apple's US lawyers.

Then there's the staff themselves. Apparently, they genuinely believe they're working for Apple itself, even though Apple does not list any Chinese stores in Kunming on its website.

Continued on page two, please read on, where you'll see a story I wrote in 2006 still looks to be very, very valid today!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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