Employee Is Proud of His Fake Apple Store

The Journal speaks with a clerk from the counterfeit operation in China

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Yesterday, we brought you the story of how an American expat living in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming stumbled upon an elaborate fake Apple store (pictured above) replete with an array of Apple products and signs, a winding staircase, and a Genius Bar staffed by employees wearing blue Apple T-shirts and name tags. Now The Wall Street Journal has managed to speak with one of those employees, who confirmed that the outlet is not an authorized Apple reseller. He said the store sells genuine Apple products at the same prices as those advertised on Apple's website and, as far as the province's stores go, is "one of the best in terms of scale and the level of professionalism."

While the American expat who uncovered the ruse said the employees seemed to think they really worked for Apple, the staffer who spoke to the Journal knew that he was working for an unofficial outfit, and he didn't seem concerned in the least. "It doesn't make much of a difference for us whether we're authorized or not," he explained. "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." The paper explains that the Kunming store's products could be brand new from Apple's retail outlets in China or smugglers overseas, or they could be second-hand products or knock-offs. "Now that it has undoubtedly gotten Apple's attention, one option for the Kunming store could be to apply to be part of Apple’s network of authorized resellers," the Journal writes. "But it's unclear how kindly Apple would respond to such a request under the circumstances."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.