Chinese authorities find 22 fake Apple stores

Fake Apple store workers, Reuters Staff at one fake Apple store in Kunming were dressed to resemble real staffers.

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A total of 22 fake Apple stores have been uncovered in one Chinese city.

Authorities in Kunming began searching out the copycats after pictures of one convincing replica were circulated on the web.

An early search found five fake stores, two of which were shut down for trading without a licence.

Now, according to Chinese trade officials, 22 have been found unlawfully using Apple's brand and logo.

The investigation into unauthorised Apple stores in Kunming was brought about when an American living in the city published a blog post describing a visit to one such shop.

Describing it as a "beautiful rip-off", BirdAbroad revealed how far the owners had gone to copy the decor and ambience of a real Apple store.

Staff also wore the same colour T-shirts as real Apple staffers, and sported lanyards of the same design.

The blog post was widely shared around the world and prompted Chinese trade officials in Kunming to take action.

The Administration for Industry and Commerce in Kunming said its investigation had unveiled a slew of stores violating Apple's registered trademarks.

Staff in fake Apple store Staff in the original fake shop believed they were working in a real Apple store

The shops have been told to stop using the logos as Chinese laws prohibit copying the "look and feel" of another company without permission.

It is not clear whether the shops being reprimanded were selling products sourced from Apple distributors in the country or grey market imports.

The Kunming retail watchdog said it would step up its monitoring efforts and set up a hotline through which the public can report unauthorised Apple shops they find.

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