We all know that China is the land of fake iPhones and bootleg tech. One-third of the iPhones in China are jailbroken, and we’ve seen countless ripoffs and iPhone look-a-likes come from the Asia Pacific region.

But what about physical, brick and mortar ripoffs of the Apple store? Apparently, carbon copy clones of the Apple Store abound in China, and Apple has yet to do anything about them…

This news comes from BirdAbroad, passed on by 9to5Mac, with pictures of these fake Apple stores. The buildings looks exactly like one of Apple’s own retail locations, but the stores have no actual affiliation with Apple itself.

“I went inside and poked around. They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue t-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks.

We proceeded to place a bet on whether or not this was a genuine Apple store or just the best ripoff we had ever seen – and to be sporting, I bet that it was real.”

Apparently, the people working at these fake Apple stores actually believe they’re working for Apple! This has got to be one of the most impressively orchestrated cons we’ve seen in tech for awhile.

“Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple. I tried to imagine the training that they went to when they were hired, in which they were pitched some big speech about how they were working for this innovative, global company – when really they’re just filling the pockets of some shyster living in a prefab mansion outside the city by standing around a fake store disinterestedly selling what may or may not be actual Apple products that fell off the back of a truck somewhere.”

Still don’t believe it? Check out these photos:

“I know, you guys are laughing: an Apple store in Kunming? No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before. Kunming is the end of the Earth. It’s all true – but seriously, China warps your mind into believing that anything is possible, if you stay here long enough. When we went back to this store 5 days later and couldn’t find it, having overshot by two blocks, I seriously thought that it had simply been torn down and replaced with a bank in the mean time – hey, it’s China. That could happen.

You have already guessed the punchline, of course: this was a total Apple store ripoff. A beautiful ripoff – a brilliant one – the best ripoff store we had ever seen (and we see them every day). But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly.

Apple never writes “Apple Store” on it’s signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit.”

This story sounds almost too good to be true, but we’re inclined to believe BirdAbroad. China is known for its prototypes, ripoffs, bootlegs, etc. Why not take it to a whole new level with a bootlegged store?

This Kunming location wasn’t the only fake Apple Store. BirdAbroad spotted two more!

“And the best part? A ten minute walk around the corner revealed not one, but TWO more rip-off Apple stores.”

The most surprising part of all this is that Apple hasn’t stepped in and rained down an ungodly legal fire on whoever owns these fake Apple stores. Someone in Cupertino needs to be notified, because, Houston, we have a problem.

What do you think about this? Ridiculous, isn’t it?

  • kokhean

    “We all know that China is the land of fake iPhones and bootleg tech.”

    That’s just wrong, there are legit companies operating there too. They’re just manufacturers. The ideas came from other places, and people outside of China exploit China’s cheap labor to mass produce fake stuff. That sentence’s just… not entirely true.

    • I’m very aware that there are plenty of legit companies there selling legit products. Much of the world’s innovation comes from the Asia Pacific. However, comparatively speaking, China can be called the land of bootleg tech. It just runs rampant there. More than pretty much anywhere else.

  • WTF

    ´o_Ó

  • AT0M!X

    I wish Apple stop that.

  • ic0edx

    But do they sell real Apple products, is the iPhone or the iPad real at that store. If yes then I don’t see a problem, as long as your not buying a fake then who cares.

  • Chris

    Are the fake store selling genuine or fake Apple products?

    • As far as we know, real Apple products. Not sure how they were acquired for the fake stores, though.

  • Kurt

    so their proof of this being a fake apple store is that it looks like a fake apple store. their proof is that the people working their think they are working for apple. thats not proof. sounds more like facts.

    where is the proof? alex, not one single one mentioned?

    • Chillaxing

      It’s called circumstantial evidence. And “facts” by definition are what make up evidence. Proof is evidence sufficient to prove something is true.
      So yeah, facts are proof.

      • Kurt

        awesome, whats the circumstantial evidence? it looks like an apple store? people working their think its an apple store so conclusion? its not an apple store? what’s wrong with you?

      • I was mostly referring the complete lack of coherency in your argument and your inability to make logical inferences from relevant facts. Not to mention your obvious confusion regarding the English language.

        But you’re stuck on the proof thing…I get it.

        I wasn’t really trying to point out that you missed the most relevant “proof” in the article. GT was nice enough to point it out in his post below. And yes, it is ALL circumstantial evidence because there is no DIRECT proof that it’s fake. Thus, a reader can INFER that the store is a fake based on the facts/evidence/proof (or whatever you want to call it).

        I’m just sayin….

      • kurt

        haha actually, i should have said whats wrong with me…after my second comment i reread my original comment and started laughing. i guess i shouldn’t talk to my wife whilst writing a comment.

        i lived in the US/Germany/Spain/China/Korea and one thing you will see is the marketing of a product varies, and that includes the logo. Brand recognition is different in other countries. So their use of Apple Store written next to the logo is understandable. I asked various Chinese where NYC is…what did they say? i don’t know. because of communism there is a lack of understanding of other countries and of course their products. Though apple is getting bigger in China. also, in korea there have been bridges that collapsed in recent years/department stores collapse in recent years also. if that happens here because of corruption and negligence thing how they could possible do a inadequate paint job. I say the apple store is real.

      • SimonOrJ

        ALRIGHT, KURT. I’m Korean, and I heard none of “building and bridges crashing in Korea”. DON’T TALK ABOUT KOREA THAT WAY.

        You said, “Though apple is getting bigger in China. also, in korea…”. “ALSO IN KOREA”??? Put Korea away from China.

        By the way, LG and Samsung originated in Korea, NOT CHINA.
        Don’t question if I was mad.

      • kurt

        Sampoong Department Store collapse <—search that. obviously you're not kroean not to know that.
        Seongsu Bridge Collapse <—-search that while you are at it. no need to be rude when you are wrong…right? so now am i allowed to talk about korea that way?

        "Don't question if I was mad" <—don't you now feel a little silly ㅋㅋㅋ

  • Ace

    Crazy madness!!!

  • GT

    Proof: “But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly. Apple never writes “Apple Store” on it’s signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit.”

  • Fabio Rodrigues

    Thats is not an “Apple Store”, is is an Apple Stoer, see last picture?? so it is not afilliated to any apple store huahuauha 😀

  • r0cket1000

    Love how they misspelled “Apple Store” on the last picture lol

  • In the
    Philippines, all apple stores have the word “apple store” in them.

  • Tsiv

    China is a beautiful place. You gotta live it to understand what’s going on there.

  • Li

    It said ‘apple stoer’ not apple store haha in the last picture!!

  • aalanv

    i think i read the same post somewhere else and they said that apple doesn’t have any stores listed in that city… other thing is why would apple have 3 stores within walking distance ?