Fake Chinese Apple Stores Undergo “Smart” Rebranding

| News

At least one of the so-called “fake Apple Stores” in Kunming, China, have undergone a partial rebranding after being shut down by Chinese authorities. The retail location has reopened under the name of “Smart Store,” but photographs published by M.I.C.gadget show that some “Apple Store” signage and all of Apple’s look and feel remains.

This is the latest development in month-long series of discoveries starting with the discovery of four fake Apple Stores published in a post by an American going by the name BirdAbroad. Those stores operated under the name “Apple Store” and were designed to look like one of Apple’s retail locations, but weren’t actually licensed to do so by Apple.

After her story brought the retail stores to the attention of the rest of the world, Chinese regulatory authorities shut two of them down, and then followed that up with the announcement that 22 more fake stores had been uncovered using Apple’s logo and brand without licensing under Chinese law—Apple has but four Apple Store locations, two in Beijing and two in Shanghai.

One of the first four locations went so far as to bedeck its employs in T-shirts with a large Apple logo on them, as seen in the image below published by BirdAbroad.


Employees with customers in a bogus Apple Store
Image courtesy of BirdAbroad

That is the store that has since reopened under the name “Smart Store,” as seen in the next photo, which was published by M.I.C.gadget (along with several more). You can see the “Smart Store” name next to the large Apple logo that may or may not now be properly licensed from Apple.

“Smart Store” Apple Store knockoff in Kunming
Photo published by M.I.C.gadget

That photo shows that the company kept more than the logo on the store front, however. There is still a sign in the front window that reads “Apple Store” and the rest of the store still looks like one of Apple’s own, as you can see in the call-out below put together by The Mac Observer.

The employees are still wearing their Apple logo T-shirts with their fake Apple ID badges, suggesting that being closed down for infringing on copyrighted branding may mean something different in China than it does in other parts of the world.

Calling Out All Apple Store

Calling Out All Apple Store “Smart” Knockoffs

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Lee Dronick

Looks like you can meet there for some FaceTime.

Lee Dronick

The fake Apple Stores are the subject of today’s Joy of Tech comic.


The store in the photo is still using Apple’s trademarks without Apple’s permission and is, thus, infringing on Apple’s trademarks.  And Chinese authorities, by permitting it, are violating their treaty obligation to enforce the IP rights of citizens of signatories to the WTO and GATT to which China and the U.S. are both signatories.


I hope Apple can get the factories going in South America and then can pull out of China. Perhaps that will get the government to notice; their bottom line will be affected. When will the WTO realize treaties mean nothing to the Chinese government. Time for some embargoes?

Lee Dronick

I hope Apple can get the factories going in South America and then can pull out of China.

Let us get them going here.


Let us get them going here.

Don’t be so provincial Monsieur/se?or/Herr Flashman. Where is “here”? I suppose, it would be where ever a TMO reader resides. But then we’ll not be able to take advantage of economies of scale.

Do we really want to pay more?

Lee Dronick

Where is ?here??

Estados Unidos de America, or perhaps in several nations including European ones and India.

Do we really want to pay more?

I am reading the intel tea leaves and believe that we are heading for a confrontation with China, be it violent or not. Either way it is quite possible that our supply of Chinese manufactured consumer goods could be shut off or curtailed. If so then prices of electronic goods could skyrocket. Also considering the markup of Apple’s stuff they may be able to eat the cost of domestic manufacturing, a lot of it can be done with robotics. Do we know for sure that the North Carolina Data Center is really a data center, that place is big. If you want to camouflage a manufacturing facility then call it something else until the iPad is out of the bag.

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