China is the Land of Fake iPhones and Fake… Apple Stores?

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?