A casual blog piece about a fake Apple Store in Kunming, China went viral this week and exposed a thriving underground retail industry based on false appearances. From the inside and out, these fake Apple stores look real, but they're not. And their customers who are just now discovering the truth about these stores are not too pleased.
Take, for example, Ms. Wang who spent 14,000 yuan ($2,170) on an iPhone and a 13-inch Macbook from the fake Kunming store. She spent a lot of money and doesn't know if her notebook and a phone are fake. She never received a receipt and the store, not surprisingly, refuses to help.
Ironically, these fake store owners are also upset. Up until now, they have been operating under the radar, but now the eyes of the world are upon them, scrutinizing what they do. Some are defending their practices, others just want the spotlight to go away.
Now there's a hunt for more fake Apple Stores across the globe, as Reuters reports. Fake Apple Stores have been reported in Colombia, Costa Rica and Vietnam.
It's a crazy situation. Thus far, Apple has remained silent. It'll be interesting to see how the company will respond to such blatant forgery.