Kunming-based blogger calls stores "beautiful ripoffs".
After news that crooks in China had knocked off not just Apple's products, but a whole Apple Store last month, Chinese media have reported that a further 22 dodgy Apple Stores have been uncovered, all in the one city of Kunming.
The shops reportedly sell real Apple products, including iPhones, iPods and iPads (no doubt liberated from the back of a lorry somewhere), but really go to town on dressing the shop up as a bona fide Apple Store. Pictures from inside the shops show them replete with glowing Apple logos, blown up official publicity photos of the iPad 2, and even staffers with Apple t-shirts and identity lanyards on hand advising customers.
Apple China has since cried foul (as well they might), saying the shops hurt sales of the legitimate Apple Stores and are in breach of copyright. While some of the shops are reportedly at least authorised Apple resellers, there are only four official Apple Stores in China - two in Shanghai and two in Beijing.
The original fake Apple Store was uncovered by an American blogger living in Kunming, writing under the screenname BirdAbroad. "This was a total Apple Store ripoff" she writes of her visit to the first fake Apple Store. "A beautiful ripoff... But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hand't been painted properly."
Authorities in Kunming have since set up a hotline for people to report any further dodgy Apple Stores that might crop up in the city, although whether or not they'll be forced to close or continue to operate through some kind of shady loophole isn't yet clear. In the meantime, you can read BirdAbroad's post about the the original at the link below.