Fake Chinese Apple Stores Undergo “Smart” Rebranding

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.

Original "Fake Apple Store" Photo

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

“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 "Smart" Knockoffs

Calling Out All Apple Store “Smart” Knockoffs