Chinese officials have begun the inevitable crackdown on the highly publicised fake Apple stores in the south western city of Kunming.
First revealed by American expat blogger BirdAbroad, five of the fake stores were said to be operating in the Chinese city, each offering an astonishingly accurate Apple retail experience and all selling official Apple merchandise.
The massive volume of media attention resulted in the Chinese officials ordering two of the five stores to close on the basis that they were unlicensed to sell Apple merchandise while a third was allowed to remain open as it was in the process of applying to become a reseller.
Chinese officials were characteristically fearful of the fake stores damaging the reputation of country.
"Media should not misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions. Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products," a Kunging government representative told Reuters.
Similar trademark and ‘look and feel’ protection also applies in China but enforcement is generally non existent until officials become involved, usually through competing business interests in a country where the lines between state and business are blurry at best.
It is, however, not clear that Apple has protected the firm’s retail design in the Chinese market.