Thursday, August 11, 2011, 06:00 pm
China discovers another 22 fake Apple StoresAn investigation into retail stores purporting to be run by Apple in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming has identified 22 phony storefronts operating under the company's logo.
According to a report by Reuters the stores have been ordered to stop using Apple's logos after Apple China complained of unfair competition and violation of its registered trademarks.
The investigation was tipped off by a blog post by an American living in the city who reported on knockoff Apple Stores that were so convincing that even their employees thought they were working for the Cupertino-based company.
The outlets appear to be selling actual Apple products, although they are in many cases smuggled into the country to avoid paying taxes. Customers who discovered the stores were not really begin run by Apple ranged from upset and demanding refunds for their purchases to being unfazed by the ownership of the store, as long as the merchandise was legitimately from Apple.
Apple only operates four stores in China, although it announced plans to open 25 in the near future. The company's revenues in the Greater China region (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), have exploded by a factor of six to reach $3.8 billion in the last reported quarter.