After the discovery of a fake Apple store in Kunming, China caught the blogosphere’s attention, MICGadget ran down a selection of some of the more impressive fakes that have cropped up over the years, perhaps culminating in a Giger-esque egg pod version full of iPhones, Macs, and (though not for sale) the iPad 2.
Apparently the owner of the Kunming store was once an Apple authorized reseller until he jacked the prices and lost his license. Now he sells grey market hardware and grabs all of the marketing collateral from the Apple reseller portal.
Apple’s success and popularity in retail is its curse in China and it’s clear that Apple is paying for its failure to grab that continent early (although clearly they’re making up for lost time). Outright piracy in terms of sales dress, design, and trademark infringement aren’t half of the problem, I suspect. In fact, I support and after-sales activity are the biggest issues at these stores but, as anyone knows, if you’re dedicated to a brand you’ll do anything to grab the latest gear. While you can pop into an Apple Store in Beijing and Shanghai, it’s probably considerably harder to find one in Kunming, unless someone rigs one up with some wooden furniture and kliegs.
However, these fake stores will give folks who may not have been acquainted with the “magic” that is Mac a bit more experience and, as long as their not selling outright fakes, it probably doesn’t hurt Apple’s bottom line. Besides, it’s always fun for snarky tourists to take pictures in front of the iCool store.