Chinese officials have ordered the closure two "counterfeit" Apple
stores in Kunming, after investigating all the shops in the southwestern China city.
Originally, it was reported that three elaborately camouflaged fake Apple Stores
existed in the city, however after officials performed inspections
it turned out there were a total of five.
The closures are not about cloning the store look, appearance, logo, etc, but instead because the stores did not have an official business permit. In fact, the first "clone" store to be reported in the media is not being closed. It is, according to Chinese authorities, applying for an official reseller license with Apple.
Chang Puyun, spokesman of Kunming government's business bureau said, "Media should not misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions. Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products. China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights and the stores weren't selling fake products."
This clears up confusion about whether or not the shops, discovered by an ex-pat American blogger, sold real Apple products.
Chinese law prohibits companies from copying the "look and feel" of other companies' stores. However, in order to get that protection, Apple would have had to apply for it, and authorities are currently unclear on whether or not that has been done. Even if Apple did apply for such protection, enforcement is often uneven.
Apple has just four genuine Apple Stores in China
, with two in Beijing and two in Shanghai. The company does have 13 authorized resellers in Kunming, with this store aiming to be a 14th.