The BirdAbroad blog blew up the Internet with the discovery of a fake "Apple Stoer" in Kunming, China. Just about a billion media outlets have picked up the story, and now we're awash with more details — and some fallout.
Piracy in China, even on this scale, is not new. What makes this so surprising, however, is the lengths the shop owner has gone to make the retail outlet look like an official Apple Store: the signage, the smiling employees, the glass facade and bright, white interior. It's not the only faked store out there, either. It may just be the best of the bunch, however.
Reuters managed to get one of the "Fake Apple Store" employees to comment: "The media is painting us to be a fake store but we don't sell fakes, all our products are real, you can check it yourself," he said, adding, "There is no Chinese law that says I can't decorate my shop the way I want to decorate it." Real Apple products at real Apple prices, without having to fill those real Apple coffers.
As for the customers, reactions were mixed. Some wanted refunds: "When I heard the news I rushed here immediately to get the receipt, I am so upset," one shopper told Reuters. "With a store this big, it looks so believable who would have thought it was fake?" That receipt? Well, apparently Apple Stoer isn't so good about handing those out.
Others who talked to the news outlet didn't seem to care: "As long as their products are real it's okay — after all, you enter a store not to look at anything except their products. If the products you buy are real why do you care whether the store is a copy?"
BirdAbroad has shot a video of the fake Apple store (with a real Apple MacBook), which we've embedded below. (And, if you want to see the real Apple's refund policy just because you're curious, click here.)