China is well-known for its knock-offs of devices, DVDs, CDs, and more, but they've outdone themselves this time. They've gone and cloned Apple retail stores.
A pair of Americans in the Kunming province in southeastern China wandered into one, because hey, it looked like an Apple store - it even had what appeared to be Apple products. Judging by the images, it was an easy mistake to make.
One thing, they noted, though: Apple does not put "Apple Store" on its store signs. Instead, it just puts its Apple logo.
Another thing they noticed was that the paint, stairways, and other accoutrements seemed rather cheap.
The name tags around the necks of the salespeople didn’t have names on them, as they should, but instead just an Apple
logo and the designation “Staff."
Additionally, a quick check of Apple's website showed that they don't have a store in Kunming. They certainly don't have three of them (walking around the vicinity of the first fake store showed two more fake Apple Stores).
It's quite possible that the products are knock-offs, too, although it's not clear. This could just be a distributor that decided to make itself look more official, or it could be a giant scam.
Sadly, the employees actually believe they are working for Apple. Our guess is that any benefits they have (and it is China
, after all), are significantly less than the actual company gives.
Hopefully they don't have their bubble burst by reading this; it's possible they may be saved from embarrassment by the Great Firewall of China.