A knockoff of Apple’s popular retail stores opened in China, another example of the company’s wild support in today’s popular culture.
The fake Apple Store, located in Kunming, China, contains displays nearly identical to those typical of an official Apple store, complete with wooden tables, promotional posters that sport official images and employees who all wear blue t-shirts with Apple’s trademark logo and name badges.
The owners of the fake store instructed security guards to keep visitors from taking any pictures, likely due to the unauthorized nature of the location, but the store appeared so real that employees interviewed believed they were actually working for Apple.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has no listing of any retail locations in Kunming, China.
It remains unclear whether the store is selling official Apple products or third-party knockoffs, but it is not the only store of its kind. There are reportedly two more locations just like the Apple impersonator within a few blocks of the Kunming one.
China is known for being home to several companies that produce counterfeit devices like cell phones and iPods, which may look like their originals but not perform as well. In June, a man in India was killed when a knock-off cell phone made in China blew up in the middle of a phone call.
But news of the Kunming store takes this idea to another level. The commercial appeal of Apple, its products and even its CEO Steve Jobs, is far-reaching in China.
China-based company MIC Gadget also took advantage of Jobs’ likeness, releasing a top-selling action figure of the CEO in his trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans. Apple later filed a request that the company stop marketing the product, citing copyright infringement.
But this may not be all bad. The replication of Apple’s products, its store and its CEO are all free publicity for the company, even while it has proven to be sensitive about unauthorized representations of itself in the past. So, it may be only a matter of time until Apple takes action against these fake retail locations as well.