Right now, one of the most famous Apple Stores in the world is in Kunming, the capital of China's mountainous southwestern Yunnan province - and its fame comes from the fact it's not a real Apple Store.
This was a total Apple store rip-off. A beautiful rip-off -- a brilliant one -- the best rip-off store we had ever seen. Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple, said an anonymous American blogger on Wednesday.
Two days after the blog post has stirred up a worldwide attention to the fake Apple Store, industrial and commercial authorities in Kunming to launch an inspection not only on the alleged Apple Store, but on all the city's electronics stores, reports a Chinese news outlet Xinhua.
The inspection includes business licenses, authorized permits of brand use, and the purchase channel of each store, said a worker with the city's industrial and commercial department, said Xinhua. Its result will be announced soon.
The whistle blower who broke the story has received one million views on her blog within the first 72 hours.
Reuters is claiming that the story has been picked up by nearly 1,000 media outlets - and I can tell you that I have personally been contacted by every major news source in the US and Europe, included the AP, AFP, CNN, BBC, ABC, NBC, and other similarly acronymed outfits, said the blogger of BirdAbroad on a new post on Saturday.
The fake Apple Store is located in the southwester Chinese city of Kunming, Yunnan. A store employee confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the store is not even an authorized Apple reseller. According to the salesperson, products in the store are genuine Apple products sold at the same prices as advertised on Apple's website, reports the Journal.
It doesn't make much of a difference for us whether we're authorized or not, he said. I just care that what I sell every day are authentic Apple products, and that our customers don't come back to me to complain about the quality of the products.
When I heard the news I rushed here immediately to get the receipt, I am so upset, a customer surnamed Wang told Reuters, near tears. With a store this big, it looks so believable who would have thought it was fake?
Staff were reportedly angry at the unwelcomed attention with over 1,000 media outlets picking up the story.
Customers' fury, however, was incomparable.
According to a Reuters report, a customer whose last name is Wang spent 14,000 yuan ($2,170) in June to buy a Macbook Pro 13-inch and a 3G iPhone from the Kunming store. She wasn't issued a receipt at the time, with staff telling her to come back later.
Where's my receipt, you promised me my receipt last month! Wang shouted at employees, before being whisked away to an upstairs room, said Reuters.
An Apple spokesman in California declined to comment on the fake stores but said consumers can go to the company's website to locate authorized outlets.
Here are some video clips on the fake Apple stores found in Kunming, China.
The first one is taken by the blogger herself, as an update to the initial post: