While the story that most people know involves a fake Chinese knock-off, Kunming officials say that the real truth is much more mundane -- the Apple stores at the center of last week’s minor media storm are simply awaiting final reseller approval from Cupertino, and the two that were closed would have been closed anyway -- because they lacked official business permits.
Apple has four ‘genuine’ stores, in Beijing and Shanghai, and the five stores in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming were faithful enough to fool customers and even some employees. The American blogger who first posted the discovery of “a near-perfect ripoff” noticed some shoddy construction and signage details that didn’t seem quite right, but was generally impressed by the level of similarity -- and even more impressed when she discovered two more fake Apple stores not far away.
The blog was entitled “Are you listening, Steve Jobs?” blog, and it undoubtedly embarrassed local officials and businessmen alike with passages such as this one about the employees: “I tried to imagine the training that they went to when they were hired, in which they were pitched some big speech about how they were working for this innovative, global company – when really they’re just filling the pockets of some shyster living in a prefab mansion outside the city by standing around a fake store disinterestedly selling what may or may not be actual Apple products that fell off the back of a truck somewhere.”
The ensuing investigation led to the discovery that two of the five stores lacked the correct papers, but officials in the Kunming business bureau such as Huang Yinghui and Chang Puyun were adamant in stating that the Apple products themselves being sold were genuine, and Apple does in fact have 13 authorized resellers in the country.
"Media should not misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions,” Chang said. “Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products. China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights and the stores weren't selling fake products."
Although Apple had not made an official statement, the company’s side of the argument is that the store design and layout is itself a matter of intellectual property, and Chang stated that the investigation is still trying to determine whether there was any official legal agreement between Apple and the Chinese government concerning the “look and feel” portion of Chinese intellectual property law -- but even if that is the case, only the most egregious and publicized cases are likely to be addressed.
James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. East Side Lenders strives to set the standard for the online pay day loan business. They are dedicated to providing premier alternative financing and helping people receive a quick a pay day loan.