Those "fake Apple Stores in China sure made a huge stink when BirdAbroad exposed an almost-spot-on bootleg retail, didn't it? After a citywide inspection of over 300 electronics stores in Kunming, Chinese city officials slammed down their mighty hammers, forcing two shops selling Apple goods to close.
Customers in China who are worried that they've been conned into purchasing fake Apple products (truth: the "Apple Stoer" sells genuine Apple gadgets) will be happy to hear that the Chinese government is working quickly to investigate these newfound copycat stores. Hell, with all the extra eyeballs watching, getting a refund might even be easier, now that the government's involved.
Unfortunately, the two stores that were forced to close down in Kunming were ordered to do so because they didn't have official business permits to operate — not because they had copied Apple's iconic retail store design and not because they sold fake Apple goods.
So, are the bootleg stores legally allowed to rip-off Apple's retail store design? Not quite.
Reuters' report states that "Chinese law prohibits companies from copying the 'look and feel' of other companies' stores, but enforcement is often spotty."
I think we can all agree that all eyes are now on China. This case is a no-brainer, the fake Apple Store is going to get jackhammered into the ground.
Until Apple weighs in, the "Apple Stoer" that blew up the Internet is apparently "applying for a reseller license with Apple." With only four official Apple Stores in China, it'll be interesting to see how Steve Jobs and the Apple gang will proceed. I mean, the fake Chinese Apple store is already 99 percent there, in terms of having its displays, layout, products and staff mimick Apple's strict terms of quality and design.
Apple could either grant the now infamous store an official reseller license or force the owner to change its signage. Or perhaps Steve Jobs is already so outraged he's already ordered an Apple mob to wipe the fake store off the planet!
Now that the Chinese government has actually shown it can act swiftly about such shenanigans, how about settling that matter of bootlegging the entire city of Hallstatt, Austria in a southern province of Guangdong? Yeah, forget an entire Apple Store, China's building a 1:1 replica of a scenic European city!