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This would mean each staff member truly believes they are official Apple employees, when instead, they are employees of very clever scammers.

And, given the nature of scammers, can you trust these people for your warranty?

If I was in Kunming, I'd certainly hope so, because warranties are important, after all, and these really might be 'legit' operations without a 'legit' storefront, simply copying Apple as best as possible to boost sales as much as possible.

Undoubtedly, with this store having now gone around the world, Apple in the US is very well aware of this store's existence, and will probably now want to do something about it.

Already, the BirdAbroad blogger had to pretend to be US Apple Store employees simply on an overseas trip to check out Apple stores around the world to be allowed to take photos in peace. 

Before she had that brainwave, the security guards, of which there were three plain-clothes types outside, had tried to stop her from taking those photos, but given the pics available over at BirdAbroad, they clearly failed - and if they are aware of the subsequent global publicity, have probably realised they failed badly in their jobs to presumably stop Apple itself from finding out, futile though that is in our age of camera-equipped smartphones and other devices.

So'¦ if you're taking a trip to China, or even almost anywhere in Asia, and you want to buy something that is truly genuine, it looks like you really do need to stick to the absolutely 100% trusted stores that the local know for certain aren't fake, or your iHappiness may turn to iHell when something inevitably goes wrong.

Finally, as I wrote back in November 2006, Chinese fake electronics are more popular to some Chinese than the real deals - and with news of this story breaking, it could well be that nothing has changed!



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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.