Chinese officials investigating fake Apple Stores as customers complain

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
After reports emerged of "knockoff" Apple Stores in Kunming, China, government officials have launched an investigation into retail stores in the city, even as outraged customers have returned to the store demanding proof that their purchases are genuine.



According to Reuters, industrial and commercial authorities will inspect all electronics shops in the city, which is located in Yunnan province in southwest China. The investigation will look into business licenses, authorized permits on brand use, and the purchase channel of each store, a worker from the department told China's official Xinhua news agency.



The first reports of the counterfeit Apple Store emerged earlier in the week and quickly drew international attention. BirdAbroad, the blog which first broke the story, had said that employees of one store claimed to work for Apple. That store included staff wearing blue t-shirts and name tags bearing the Apple logo, as well as a lower-quality version of Apple's iconic winding staircase.



Calls to the store placed by reporters have since confirmed that at least some of the staff are willing to admit that the store is a fake. ""There is no Chinese law that says I can't decorate my shop the way I want to decorate it," one employee told Reuters.







After news of the store was picked up by local Chinese media, a number of upset customers returned to the store to complain. "With a store this big, it looks so believable who would have thought it was fake?" said a customer, who had come back to the store to demand a receipt for her purchase of a MacBook Pro and iPhone 3G.



"Where's my receipt, you promised me my receipt last month!" she shouted at the store's employees. Staff said that business had been affected by the report.



Credit: BirdAbroad



Some customers, however, were unfazed by the news that the store was not an authorized Apple reseller. "As long as their products are real it's okay -- after all, you enter a store not to look at anything except their products," said 18-year-old Hu Junkai. "If the products you buy are real why do you care whether the store is a copy?"



Credit: BirdAbroad



Apple operates just four official retail stores in China, though it plans to open a total of 25 in the
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 115
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    After reports emerged of "knockoff" Apple Stores in Kunming, China, government officials have launched an investigation into retail stores in the city, even as outraged customers have returned to the store demanding proof that their purchases are genuine. ...



    Horrible music choice on the video. Weird Yiddish music for a video about a fake Chinese Apple store? But I guess that wasn't Apple Insider.



    I like how they have Dyson fans on the second floor. Hilarious.
  • Reply 2 of 115
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "There is no Chinese law that says I can't decorate my shop the way I want to decorate it," one employee told Reuters.



    Implying that's the issue here.



    Quote:

    "Where's my receipt, you promised me my receipt last month!"



    How do you NOT get the receipt the instant you purchase your item? Even our Amish grocer gives receipts. They're printed from a cash register hooked to a car battery, for heaven's sake.



    Quote:

    Hu Junkai.



    Come on, this guy's just playing with them. "Huge Junkie" is not a name. This is, of course, tongue in cheek as I realize it's quite a valid name. And probably pronounced 'who youn-kai'.
  • Reply 3 of 115
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Implying that's the issue here.



    That's exactly the issue. If they are selling genuine Apple products, can that reseller make their store look like an Apple store?



    It all depends on what's allowed by Chinese law. In the U.S., a store couldn't use Apple's logo and other images like this without Apple's consent.





    You have to understand that China is the pirating capital of the world. They just don't have a moral/ethical problem with copying. It's not as high in their list of 'values' is it is in Western Civilization. A friend of mine went to Beijing on business and bought 'North Face' gear from pushcarts on the street. Wanna make any guess on whether the stuff was genuine or not?





    Thoughts to ponder:



    Why are the ethics and morals in China different than here?



    Does the West have a right to impose its values on other cultures?



    Where did our (Western) sense of morality come from?
  • Reply 4 of 115
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 469member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Horrible music choice on the video. Weird Yiddish music for a video about a fake Chinese Apple store? But I guess that wasn't Apple Insider.



    I like how they have Dyson fans on the second floor. Hilarious.



    The fans are probably fake too.
  • Reply 5 of 115
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    That's exactly the issue. If they are selling genuine Apple products, can that reseller make their store look like an Apple store?



    Were they? Selling genuine products, I mean.
  • Reply 6 of 115
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 434member
    Even if they were selling real Apple products, they definitely aren't authorized to do so. So either way, they're in the wrong.
  • Reply 7 of 115
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Were they? Selling genuine products, I mean.



    We'll have to wait and see what info comes out. My guess is that they probably were, because it'd be a huge task to make an entire Apple lineup of products that were high-quality fakes.



    2 scenarios:



    * The store owner was a legit Apple reseller like Best Buy or Target, did everything on the up-and-up, but then 'decorated' his store to look like an Apple store.



    * Or, the owner had connections to the Apple product makers like Foxxcon and had them supply him with product on the side. Not as likely, as Foxxcon would be jeopardizing their own business with Apple.



    If they are all fake Apple products, though......that would be amazing, and you'd actually have to congratulate the guy for not only making fake products, but a fake store, too. Heck, if he can really do all that, he should just set up his own legitimate electronics company and compete with Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 115
    n0b0dyn0b0dy Posts: 9member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Were they? Selling genuine products, I mean.



    I believe the apple products are genuine. IMO it's not that bad as it would be much worse if they sold fake apple products as well. As long as the hardware is real and they do a good job on promoting apple products it's ok. I guess they will change the look on the store front and use different t-shirts on the employees.



    They might infringe on apples copyright by using the apple logo without consent but I believe in china copyright law is not that highly looked upon.



    //Rob
  • Reply 9 of 115
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bartfat View Post


    Even if they were selling real Apple products, they definitely aren't authorized to do so. So either way, they're in the wrong.



    Are you sure the Chinese laws are written as such?
  • Reply 10 of 115
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    I don't have any problem with them making their stores look identical to Apple's IF they are authorized to sell real products and IF they aren't passing their store/company name off as "Apple Store".



    Just like none of the Apple Authorized Resellers here can call themselves "Apple Store", they oughtn't be able to, either. And I'm pretty sure it's downright illegal anyway.
  • Reply 11 of 115
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Apple should have an affilate programs with these fake stores. Obviously whoever opens them up care about recreating the look and feel of apple stores. It would be silly to just close them down (especially in china where it may take quite some time for apple to cover the country in stores). Maybe make an agreement where they can display apple logo, but must also clearly state affiliate or something like that to let people know its not 100% apple experience.



    I think we have those in US too (affiliates I mean).
  • Reply 12 of 115
    k2directork2director Posts: 194member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    That's exactly the issue. If they are selling genuine Apple products, can that reseller make their store look like an Apple store?



    It all depends on what's allowed by Chinese law. In the U.S., a store couldn't use Apple's logo and other images like this without Apple's consent.





    You have to understand that China is the pirating capital of the world. They just don't have a moral/ethical problem with copying. It's not as high in their list of 'values' is it is in Western Civilization. A friend of mine went to Beijing on business and bought 'North Face' gear from pushcarts on the street. Wanna make any guess on whether the stuff was genuine or not?





    Thoughts to ponder:



    Why are the ethics and morals in China different than here?



    Does the West have a right to impose its values on other cultures?



    Where did our (Western) sense of morality come from?



    Look at how China has treated its citizens in the last 100 years and you won't be pedaling your "morality is relative" crap and asking dumb doe-eyed questions about whether we have the right to "impose" our values on China.



    Let me reverse your question: Chinese values led to the death of tens of millions of Chinese citizens during that little snake Mao's pathetic Cultural Revolution. Does that mean it's okay for anyone to kill tens of millions of Chinese, because that's the "Chinese way", and god forbid we should ever question someone's else's values?
  • Reply 13 of 115
    They're selling Apple products, and the fact that they look like real Apple stores no doubt makes them more attractive to customers, which in turn helps Apple (more customers/fans). After all, they're still Apple's products.
  • Reply 14 of 115
    Might be Apple products yes, but you won't get the right purchase date if you're interested in AppleCare.
  • Reply 15 of 115
    citycity Posts: 522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drumrobot View Post


    They're selling Apple products, and the fact that they look like real Apple stores no doubt makes them more attractive to customers, which in turn helps Apple (more customers/fans). After all, they're still Apple's products.



    The sign should read "Apple Reseller", if it is an authorized reseller. I suspect Apple would require that. The store experience and product mix might otherwise not be the same and damaging to the Apple brand, such as not providing a receipt and warranty repairs on site.
  • Reply 16 of 115
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "If the products you buy are real why do you care whether the store is a copy?"



    Because Apple has a right to control their own brand. If someone else pretends to be them, and then gives bad service, that will reflect poorly on Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 115
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Thoughts to ponder:



    Why are the ethics and morals in China different than here?



    Does the West have a right to impose its values on other cultures?



    Where did our (Western) sense of morality come from?



    Many people alive today in China were raised in a communist system, which has communal property, not individual property.



    If you were raised in that system, it might not occur to you that you can't simply copy everything you see, because it might *belong* to somebody else.
  • Reply 18 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Why are the ethics and morals in China different than here?



    Because they're different from you.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Does the West have a right to impose its values on other cultures?



    No.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    Where did our (Western) sense of morality come from?



    The same places theirs comes from: family, education, culture, religion/philosophy, law.



    A question for you to ponder: where does your uninformed arrogance from?
  • Reply 19 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Many people alive today in China were raised in a communist system, which has communal property, not individual property.



    If you were raised in that system, it might not occur to you that you can't simply copy everything you see, because it might *belong* to somebody else.



    IP law has been around in some form or the other in the West at least since the 13th century.



    Has it occurred to anyone here to pay the Chinese royalties for gunpowder, paper, and ceramics?
  • Reply 20 of 115
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post


    That's exactly the issue. If they are selling genuine Apple products, can that reseller make their store look like an Apple store?





    The real issue is the implication that they are selling stuff with Apple's blessing. If they are not, then Apple may legally be allowed to refuse to cover the products under warranty.
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