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Apple Stoer
July 21, 2011 2:36 AM   Subscribe

Blogger BirdAboard discovers not one, but three fake Apple stores in Kunming, China.
posted by bwg (74 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
To be fair, where did they expect to find them?
posted by pompomtom at 2:38 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Were the products in the store fake, too? The article doesn't make this clear. It does seem a little bizarre that we now talk about shops being fake, irrespective of the authenticity or otherwise of the products they sell. I guess the store is all part of the Apple "experience"?
posted by Jimbob at 2:42 AM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Even the employees in the stores are fooled.
posted by gen at 2:43 AM on July 21, 2011


pompomtom: "To be fair, where did they expect to find them?"

I dunno, next to Star Fucks Coffe?
posted by bwg at 2:44 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Three bad apples, huh?
posted by likeso at 2:50 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Imitation is the sincerest form of copyright infringement.
posted by fairmettle at 2:50 AM on July 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


The brazen will rule the earth.
posted by tomswift at 2:52 AM on July 21, 2011


I'll be checking in on this gal's blog and hope she reports what , if any, action gets taken and by whom. Apple must have been notified by now, she's getting a lot of hits and (re)tweets.
posted by likeso at 2:53 AM on July 21, 2011


If the products inside are actual apple products, by definition, it's an apple store, isn't it? I mean, that's what they sell. Unofficial, perhaps, but, hey, truth in advertising.

I thought the little asides about sub-par stairs and paint (?) and the conjecture about the lifestyle and taste of the store owner was pretty small. I know it sucks when your expensive lifestyle gear is copied and sold cheaply, but I don't think the snotty stuff makes the blogger out to be a better person than the store owner.
posted by maxwelton at 3:00 AM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


BBC's picked up the story.
posted by likeso at 3:05 AM on July 21, 2011


Wow, this thing's breaking fast... Reuters has it, it's on boingboing, it's in all the Dutch newspapers (online), someone said something about NBC... dateline's screwing me up, though.
posted by likeso at 3:13 AM on July 21, 2011


I thought the little asides about sub-par stairs and paint (?) and the conjecture about the lifestyle and taste of the store owner was pretty small. I know it sucks when your expensive lifestyle gear is copied and sold cheaply, but I don't think the snotty stuff makes the blogger out to be a better person than the store owner.

I think you misunderstood. These were CLUES that led her to conclude the place was fake. Which is obvious in the next few sentences when she talks about how painstakingly Apple works to open a store. The implication being that no real Apple store would ever open with even the smallest quality flaw like poor paint or build quality of the stairs.
posted by spicynuts at 3:23 AM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Story on Yahoo also contains customer comments on a different faux pomme:

'"I prefer to get my Apple products fixed here. It's very troublesome going to the real Apple store in Lujiazui because not only do you have to pay to get repairs, but you have to make an appointment to see the sales specialist," said Xavier, a 30-something expatriate who declined to give his last name.

"The prices are the same as the real store but the service is better here," he added, before whipping out his two iPads to tinker with.'
posted by likeso at 3:31 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what? Here in the UK we have plenty of non-Apple-run shops - the only difference is they don't call them "Apple Store". The local one here chose the great name "Stormfront", presumably without doing a Google search for that name.

Also, this article would be better without the "OMG China is crazy!" tone. But then there really wouldn't be a story.
posted by iotic at 3:46 AM on July 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


getting your apple stuff at a fake store offsets having apple stuff at all, but not by enough
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:46 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, to my eye they're an Apple Reseller that went a bit too far in their branding.

Take a look at these guys, for example. Thats an Apple Reseller in London.
posted by vacapinta at 3:55 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll be checking in on this gal's blog and hope she reports what , if any, action gets taken and by whom. Apple must have been notified by now, she's getting a lot of hits and (re)tweets...
Wow, this thing's breaking fast... Reuters has it, it's on boingboing, it's in all the Dutch newspapers (online), someone said something about NBC... dateline's screwing me up, though.


If this is the most important injustice going on in China at the moment, if this is the issue that suddenly gets global media attention...sorry, we're all fucked. Completely fucked.
posted by Jimbob at 3:57 AM on July 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


Dude, it's cucumber season = slow summer news, and the timing is great = will hit morning deadlines for print and tv. Of course it'll go global, Apple recently announced record-breaking profits with great advances in Asia.
posted by likeso at 4:01 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this is the most important injustice going on in China at the moment

I'd go further and replace these words with "If this is the most important injustice going in China at the moment that relates to consumer goods popular in the West" or even "If this is the most important injustice going in China at the moment that has something to do with Apple".
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:03 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before.

This is why I love Metafilter. I get to learn about things I didn't even know existed. Although, how could I? I'm no personal friend of the blogger in question. While the above, I think, is a reasonable claim, I nonetheless find myself questioning it slightly; searching through my brain for 'kun' and 'ming' as well as the combination of the two has led me to rediscover a song, long forgotten, which I heard once while trekking on horseback in China;

横断山,路难行.
敌重兵,压黔境,
敌人重兵压黔境,
战士双脚走天下,
四渡赤水出奇兵,
乌江天险重飞渡,
兵临贵阳逼昆明.
敌人弃甲丢烟枪啊,
我军乘胜赶路程.
调虎离山袭金沙呀,
毛主席用兵真如神,
毛主席用兵真如神,
毛主席用兵真如神哪. 啊嘿!

And there it is, the two last characters of line seven, saying, if I'm not mistaken — and I very well could be — Kunming. Of course, there is no way to prove that this is the same Kunming that the blogger discovered, so I guess we'll never know.
posted by klue at 4:05 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before.

Yeah, that chafed at me too. It's not like Kunming is a small town in the middle of nowhere.
posted by bwg at 4:12 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Could someone who reads Chinese tell us what it says in the picture of the big sign under the 'Apple Store'? There's an awful lot of speculation in the comments of the original post about authorised resellers and how they note that in their signs, but no one has bothered reading the sign, as far as I can tell. (Though I assume the author of the post reads Chinese.) Does it just say 'Apple Store'?
posted by hoyland at 4:15 AM on July 21, 2011


hoyland: "Could someone who reads Chinese tell us what it says in the picture of the big sign under the 'Apple Store'? There's an awful lot of speculation in the comments of the original post about authorised resellers and how they note that in their signs, but no one has bothered reading the sign, as far as I can tell. (Though I assume the author of the post reads Chinese.) Does it just say 'Apple Store'?"

Yes, the Chinese reads: Apple Store.
posted by bwg at 4:18 AM on July 21, 2011


Lest I be accused of mud-dragging the bloggers fine reputation, I have just discovered that the song I mention has recently been recorded and put on the internet; see for yourself!
posted by klue at 4:18 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


More specifically: 苹果 píng​guǒ (apple) 商店shāng​diàn (store/shop)
posted by bwg at 4:20 AM on July 21, 2011


Oooh, I bet this'll make Apple SO MAD that they'll close down all their manufacturing facilities in China and move them to the U.S. where they can be sure their trademarks will be respected.

Ha ha ha, seriously though, no. Sweatshops are an incredibly lucrative business model.
posted by logicpunk at 4:42 AM on July 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


That's why I'm interested in how this will play out. It'll all depend on how high up the food chain the guys behind the fake stores are - and how much face might be lost, and by whom. Figure those particular stores will up sticks and reopen elsewhere. Really sucks for those employees.
posted by likeso at 4:49 AM on July 21, 2011


Doesn't matter how high up the food chain this goes; Apple makes too good of a margin in the West to care about counterfeit stores in China. Seriously, manufacturing goods in China is essentially signing a license to counterfeit. It happens with every company that has operations there. The same is true in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:28 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


How you like them apples?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:31 AM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Doesn't matter how high up the food chain this goes; Apple makes too good of a margin in the West to care about counterfeit stores in China.

Well, since this has received global coverage, Apple will have to be seen to be taking action to protect and defend their brand, be it window dressing or not. That's what I'll be waiting for.
posted by likeso at 5:33 AM on July 21, 2011


Wouldn't it be interesting if Apple, instead of coming at them hard, offered to make these shops legitimate (if indeed they prove to be fakes)?
posted by bwg at 5:37 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


nothing is real...
and nothing to get hung about
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 AM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


That would be an interesting twist.

*looking up retail rental costs in Nigeria*
posted by likeso at 5:40 AM on July 21, 2011


Three bad apples, huh?

Yeah, this is bad. But just wait until someone finds the three bad bunches.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:44 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, the post title (Apple Stoer) is genius.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:46 AM on July 21, 2011


Related: Though most of the really blatant copyright infringement-type stuff is no longer part of the Japanese retail landscape, every now and then you still see something to remind you of the old days. For example, something I saw on a store shelf recently... Cream-o.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:46 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why, everybody loves Cream-o!
posted by likeso at 5:48 AM on July 21, 2011


Benny Andajetz: "Also, the post title (Apple Stoer) is genius."

Your comment is as punny as Hell.
posted by bwg at 5:53 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, the prices are the *same* in the fake Apple store? Wow. Somebody's making a killing. Imagine having Apple's jacked up prices but no manufacturers/programmers/executives to pay.
posted by DU at 5:54 AM on July 21, 2011


Though most of the really blatant copyright infringement-type stuff is no longer part of the Japanese retail landscape, every now and then you still see something to remind you of the old days.

And yet it's alive and well here in the good ol' US. Why, for example, is it OK for Walmart to sell their own versions of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew as Dr. Thunder and Mountain Lightning? In cans that look almost identical to the real products, no less? It's no wonder so many people don't take this shit seriously.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:08 AM on July 21, 2011


Aren't those private label products? Probably produced by PepsiCo/Coca-Cola bottlers?
posted by likeso at 6:24 AM on July 21, 2011


Aren't those private label products? Probably produced by PepsiCo/Coca-Cola bottlers?

Probably. But in a way that's even worse. If the owners don't have more respect for their marks than that, why would they expect anyone else to?

/sorry for the derail
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:31 AM on July 21, 2011


(adding bit to derail)

As I understand it, it's actually respecting their brands. They wish to also reach the discount market without discounting their brands. Like Aristona/Philips.
posted by likeso at 6:34 AM on July 21, 2011


"respecting " - forgot the scare quotes. It allows them to keep higher retail for those brands, while also covering the lower at prices closer to cost.
posted by likeso at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2011


Awesome!
posted by R. Mutt at 6:42 AM on July 21, 2011


This was on NPR's Morning Edition today. Metafilter is officially as "with it" as NPR.
posted by azarbayejani at 6:42 AM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cost being manufacturing cost, eliminating (huge) advertising costs, making it profitable. Also exposing product to public, developing tastes so if/when folk purchasing get more budget, they will then gravitate to higher-end brand, psychological status/quality stuff kicking in.

/derail;)
posted by likeso at 6:43 AM on July 21, 2011


Metafilter is officially as "with it" as NPR.

That's some cold fuckin comfort, right there.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:49 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it time for me to breathily read my poetic memoirs about my freshman year at Sarah Lawrence ca. 1975 yet?
posted by griphus at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ooh, yes, please. Take a seat in the red chair. And, off you go.
posted by likeso at 7:08 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before.

Dude - I have fond memories of a week spent in Kunming in '85. Were you even born back then?

Indispensable pre-iPod travel accessory: my Sony Walkman...
posted by progosk at 7:54 AM on July 21, 2011


Yeah, Kunming is a provincial capital with a population of several million. It's not famous like Beijing or Shanghai or, I dunno, Xi'an, but it's still a pretty major tourist destination.

The OK100 (fast food) in the Chinese town no one's ever heard of where I lived for a year had McDonald's golden arches up on their sign. They also had a print of Napoleon Crossing the Alps and Christmas decorations hanging on the walls.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:11 AM on July 21, 2011


Forget Apple Stores, the Chinese have moved ahead to shanzaiing entire towns. Church, every single house, lake, everything.

And to think, I was thinking the Macau shanzai of the Vegas simulacrum of Venice that is The Macau Venetian was pretty bizarre.

Some day I'll understand the Chinese obsession with European baroque. Someday.
posted by the cydonian at 8:12 AM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before.

Seriously, who has this to say of a city populated by 3 million people? I'd rather not think, someone who thinks Chinese people aren't really people.

Actually, the spice cumin is named after Kunming, China, so technically a hell of a lot of people have heard of it. This seems somewhat unnecessary to point out in the face of such obtuse cultural commentary, however.
posted by iotic at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: Also, the post title (Apple Stoer) is genius.

It's the text on the last image on the blog.

In a NY Times blog post about this post, the author notes he saw a (poorly done) fake Apple store in Quito, Ecuador, and in a follow-up post, someone submitted a pic from a fake Apple store in Hanoi, Vietnam. It's not just China.

This story blew up yesterday. I checked Google News, and there were 100+ stories about the fake Apple store, most re-telling the BirdAbroad (not Aboard) blog, with the same pictures being used. Today there are 600+ stories.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2011


Actually, the spice cumin is named after Kunming, China

Er. [citation needed]
posted by elizardbits at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2011


Actually, the spice cumin is named after Kunming, China

Er. [citation needed]


Sigh. I wanted it to be true....
posted by BrashTech at 8:56 AM on July 21, 2011




Reminds me of the Агат, the Soviet-era Apple ][ clone. Painted red, of course.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:08 AM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I read things like this, I picture Steve Jobs sending the author an invitation into his secret fortress to reward them for their good work. And when they arrive, ushered in by the two huge guards they just insulted for rough-handling them on the way in, Steve watches them from a monitor in his palatial bedroom and grins.

"Excellent work, BirdAbroad. You spotted the counterfeit," he says into the microphone, watching as the blogger turns around and around, trying to figure out where the voice is coming from.

"Th-thank you, Mr. Jobs! My only wish is to serve you!" they say.

"And my only wish," Steve says, stroking his goatee (in my head, he has a goatee), "is to serve you."

The he pushes a button.

"BOOM!" he says, laughing maniacally.

Then some trap doors open underneath the blogger's feet, and they're released into a tank with a giant shark.
posted by katillathehun at 9:13 AM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


i heard, at the back of the fake Apple stores, there's a secret room where you can buy "designer" bags.
posted by dracomarca at 9:13 AM on July 21, 2011


You mean there's a black market for overpriced, unnecessary crap? Holy conspicuous consumption, Batman!
posted by IvoShandor at 9:34 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sigh. I wanted it to be true....

Oh, me too. Still, thanks to your link, I now know I regularly use a word rooted in Sumerian.


(From BrashTech's wikipedia link:
The ultimate source is the Sumerian word gamun.)

posted by likeso at 9:34 AM on July 21, 2011


I guess it's not "black" per se.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2011


Yeah, to my eye they're an Apple Reseller that went a bit too far in their branding.

Agree with vacapinta here.

In Hong Kong besides the official Apple stores there are plenty of Apple resellers, some of which have taken obvious inspiration from Apple store design, and you can buy Apple products from the merchants in Mong Kok. The prices are exactly the same as the Apple Store (or more, in the case of the products just released in short supply). They're legitimate products; I bought a factory-unlocked iPhone 3GS from a seller in Mong Kok that works fine to this day.
posted by pravit at 9:39 AM on July 21, 2011


Actually, the spice cumin is named after Kunming, China

Er. [citation needed]

Sigh. I wanted it to be true....

Damn, so did I. And I thought it was, sorry. I did visit Kunming several years ago - not sure where I got that spurious fact from, guide book or someone we met along the way.

Glad to see Wikipedia confirms Sri Lanka was once Serendip, thence serendipity. Wasn't all lies on my travels, then.

I stick by my point about Kunming though. Imagine if a Chinese person went to, I dunno, Denver, Colorado and said, "nobody has ever heard of this place except me and my friends". Laughable. And Denver only has half a million population.
posted by iotic at 9:47 AM on July 21, 2011


Meet The Chinese Steve Jobs
posted by mazola at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been to Denver, but I'm pretty sure that it does not exist.
posted by XMLicious at 10:22 AM on July 21, 2011


I found this one in Kunming, but was pretty sure from the get-go that it had nothing to do with the folks in Cupertino.
posted by squalor at 12:27 PM on July 21, 2011


fairmettle:

...I thought taxidermy was sincerer still?
posted by pmugowsky at 1:38 PM on July 21, 2011


"Th-thank you, Mr. Jobs! My only wish is to serve you!" they say.

"And my only wish," Steve says, stroking his goatee (in my head, he has a goatee), "is to serve you."

The he pushes a button.


... and a team of liver transplant surgeons run in, hacksaws in hand.
posted by benzenedream at 6:08 PM on July 21, 2011


Imagine if a Chinese person went to, I dunno, Denver, Colorado and said, "nobody has ever heard of this place except me and my friends". Laughable. And Denver only has half a million population.

In the book I'm reading at the moment, Sloane Crossley describes Lisbon as 'an obscure city', so it wouldn't surprise me that a US blogger sees a less famous city as not too well-known. Comparatively it would be like suggesting few out of the UK have heard of Derby.
posted by mippy at 1:22 PM on July 22, 2011




China stops fake Apple stores from using trademarks. The Chinese city of Kunming has stopped 22 fake Apple stores from illegally using the company's iconic trademarks after Apple lodged a complaint with authorities.

This isn't closing them, but making them unbrand themselves and their merch as offfical Apple products.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on August 15, 2011


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