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China Apple Idle

Fake Apple Stores Mushrooming In China 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the knock-off-business dept.
siliconbits writes "A new worrying phenomenon has cropped up in China and Apple has been its first victim; meet the first fake Apple Stores, entire buildings that have been designed to look like the real ones. Chinese companies have long been known for being master copiers but this takes the concept of plagiarism and copying to a whole new level. As expected, everything, from the architecture of the building, the colour of the paint, to the products, the T-shirt worn by the staff down to the logo and the badge design come from Cupertino."
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Fake Apple Stores Mushrooming In China

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  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:18PM (#36825608)
    Rill somebody prease crawl da Genrioses!
  • Name (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rewind (138843) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:20PM (#36825650) Homepage
    Can the fakes be spotted by looking for the R in Appre?
    • by Ruke (857276)
      No, but I did find the "Stoer" a bit suspicious...
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      I think Apple Stole sounds more like it.

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:22PM (#36825682) Homepage Journal

    In 2006 NEC found that a group in China had cloned the NEC corporation [nytimes.com]. They had factories, office buildings, stationary... the whole nine yards.

    They were even receiving royalty payments.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's one difference between that and this:

      This is one single piddly country crossing the Cult of Steve.

      Expect a single, buttonless, brushed-steel smoldering iCrater across Asia, while white-earbud-wearing acolytes swoop in to seal the land.

      • The government will shut these places down as soon as Apple calls them up and says "So, do you like us producing all of our products at Hon Hai?"

        • by dslbrian (318993)

          The government will shut these places down as soon as Apple calls them up and says "So, do you like us producing all of our products at Hon Hai?"

          Unlikely, the gov't there is so corrupt and moves so slow it could never effectively shut all these operations. The real takeaway here is that Apple now gets to realize the true benefits of outsourcing all its manufacturing to China. Namely that they have little power to really control their inventory and supply chain.

          Seriously, only in an environment where the gov't was complicit or completely corrupt and lazy could you have enough grey and black market goods to supply not only a single store, but an ent

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          The government will shut these places down as soon as Apple calls them up and says "So, do you like us producing all of our products at Hon Hai?"

          "Okay, we still make all your products and sell them for less. You blink first."

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Wow - I'm surprised they didn't just give the guys running that operation jobs. After all, they were coordinating everything from supply chain to R&D and marketing. They're probably more effective than the real NEC executives. If they're willing to work for less than the current CEO the board would be crazy not to hire them... :)

  • I am not worried (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:24PM (#36825704) Journal

    Worrying phenomenon for who? Not for me, for you? No? Then it ain't worrying. A new famine looms in Africa, China swears to brutally surpres discent in Tibet, hundreds are tortured and/or killed in Syria, the western world is embroiled in a near global war now and I am supposed to be worried about some stores in China that might mean Steve Jobs income is a few dollars lower? He didn't worry much about all the loss in income to westerners when he outsourced all production to China but I am supposed to worry when what everybody warned would happen (what is produced in China is copied in China) is happening?

    Tell it to the marines, cry me a river, talk to the hand because the face ain't listening. I could go on but that might show I cared. Which I don't.

    Cue Apple fanboys defending their gadgets being produced in slave labor camps with reaganomics.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      That was jimmy carter-o-nomics that snubbed taiwan to open trade with China.
      • by Lakitu (136170)

        hi,

        You're thinking of POTUS Richard Nixon in 1971 and 1972, with Henry Kissinger as the National Security Advisor, and George H.W. Bush as the US ambassador to the UN.

        Ford and Carter later reaffirmed the policies which had already been set in motion.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Its funny when they clone an apple store to the tiniest detail. Not so funny when they get around to cloning a vaccine manufacturer, or any other pharmaceutical, except skipping that expensive testing part.

      • You think this has not already happened?
        Just look at the H1N1 vaccine that was released in 1/4 the time it usually takes. Testing is just overhead anyway. (I skipped the vaccine, came down with H1N1, and then got better.)
      • Or substituting melamine or lead for the more expensive actual ingredients.
        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Well, the melamine wasn't actually a substitute for the milk. Water was the substitute for milk, but melamine was used to get the resulting substance to past the quality tests (watered down milk would test low for protein). The problem with most compendial quality tests is that they are designed to control normal manufacturing variances, not detect outright tampering. If your process could contaminate a product with arsenic then you test for it. If your process doesn't involve cyanide at any point, then

          • The melamine was a substitute for protein , which is contained in real milk. So in effect, the melamine was a substitute for milk. All of which is a moot point and only serves to demonstrate the fact that shady Chinese manufacturers are willing to cut corners by substituting hazardous substances for non-hazardous ones. And also goes to show you that dangers can come from unexpected ingredients not caught during quality control and safety testing.
            • by Rich0 (548339)

              True - bickering over details.

              Supply chain integrity matters a lot more than most people realize. The average company has to trust their suppliers - even in critical industries like health care. You can audit, but audits rarely catch intentional deception unless they are very invasive. And, if you're going to go to the trouble to keep that much of a watch on your supplier, why not just make the stuff yourself?

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        if they clone the vaccine factory 1:1, they don't need to do testing, that particular vaccine is already tested. you're going to tell them that they can't produce vaccine?

        did these guys know they were cloning a specific brand though and not just a generic cool store? what hw are they selling, that's the point. shouldn't give a rats ass about what architecture they thought was cool. that's where american culture export is failing nowadays, trying very hard to promote things but then slapping people w

        • if they clone the vaccine factory 1:1, they don't need to do testing, that particular vaccine is already tested. you're going to tell them that they can't produce vaccine?

          While I generally agree with your sentiment, even 1:1 clonage still leaves the issue of quality control open since that's ultimately a human process. That's where Chinese stuff seems to fall down, cloned or not - e.g. the melamine in the mlk, chinese drywall, lead in toys, etc.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            What's interesting is that you seem to see this stuff more out of China even though they will fucking kill you for doing it. Of course, with that whole Agent Orange thing, we're probably still in the lead.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Not so funny when they get around to cloning a vaccine manufacturer, or any other pharmaceutical, except skipping that expensive testing part.

        "Except"? I find your faith amusing.

    • Yeah, this tests pretty low on my 'give-a-fuck-ometer' as well.

      You move your entire production to the counterfeiting and piracy capitol of the world to increase your profit margins and this is what happens. Too bad, so sad.

    • by Servaas (1050156)
      Want me to take that globe for a while, Apollo?
    • by brit74 (831798) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @03:03PM (#36826910)

      Worrying phenomenon for who? Not for me, for you? No? Then it ain't worrying. A new famine looms in Africa, China swears to brutally surpres discent in Tibet, hundreds are tortured and/or killed in Syria, the western world is embroiled in a near global war now and I am supposed to be worried about some stores in China that might mean Steve Jobs income is a few dollars lower? He didn't worry much about all the loss in income to westerners when he outsourced all production to China but I am supposed to worry when what everybody warned would happen (what is produced in China is copied in China) is happening?

      Tell it to the marines, cry me a river, talk to the hand because the face ain't listening. I could go on but that might show I cared. Which I don't.

      Cue Apple fanboys defending their gadgets being produced in slave labor camps with reaganomics.

      Just so you know: anything bad that happens to you (whether rape, murder, theft, whatever) also measures pretty low next to famine in Africa, China in Tibet, torture in Syria, etc. I hope you use similar logic to remind people that they shouldn't have the least bit of concern for you no matter what the circumstances are.

    • by twocows (1216842)
      While it is a dumb story that doesn't hold importance to 99% of /.'s audience, you're still making an appeal to bigger problems. The same thing you just said could be said about every single story on the front page today.
  • Steve will just put higher walls around his garden.
    • by Annirak (181684)

      If he keeps building that wall higher, eventually no one will be able to get in. Then it will be torn down by androids.

  • Maybe someone didn't get the memo -- after you build a NuPenny store [boingboing.net] you're not supposed to open the doors ;-)

  • CEO (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:36PM (#36825866)

    Is the CEO of the Fake Apple Stores Fake Steve Jobs? [fakesteve.net]

  • Modern cargo cult? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:38PM (#36825884)

    Decades ago, when military groups landed in places unfamiliar with airplanes and other technologies, groups would form with mocked up crude simulations of the things they saw. From imitating outfits, things they carried, etc. These people knew they wanted the same things these strangers had, and this was the best way they knew how to get to something like what they had. They just didn't have any grasp on the steps really needed to get there.

    The difference is that many folks in China do know how to get there... but they also understand realistically they can't provide the same things with the tools they have so far. But mimicking is still the most logical path under the circumstances - provide what they can, and use the income to grow to make that mimicry reality, like most emerging economies playing catch-up end up doing.

    • by JDevers (83155)

      Except in this case if they are supplying current Android phones they are actually doing BETTER than Apple ;)

  • by Nanosphere (1867972) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:38PM (#36825892)
    Congrats giant corporations, maybe now you will see the dark side of outsourcing to a country like China. You fight so hard to acquire and defend patents and trademarks in the US, but guess what? The country you put all your manufacturing in doesn't care. And China has a growing economy unlike the US, so look at all that money you're losing! So you have a few choices: - Move manufacturing back to the US, where you can enforce your patent and trademark claims. - Give up the patent and trademark system and learn to make money without having a monopoly. - Keep losing money.
    • maybe now you will see the dark side of outsourcing to a country like China.

      What does the place of manufacture have anything to do with fake retail stores? Wouldn't this be just as news-worthy if this was happening in Latvia?

      • by slshwtw (1903272)

        maybe now you will see the dark side of outsourcing to a country like China.

        What does the place of manufacture have anything to do with fake retail stores? Wouldn't this be just as news-worthy if this was happening in Latvia?

        Presumably the cost of surreptitiously acquiring the merchandise for unauthorized resale is much easier when it is manufactured in the same country, particularly if that country is known to be a relative safe haven for dubious business practices conducted at the expense of Western interests.

        • by sribe (304414)

          Presumably the cost of surreptitiously acquiring the merchandise for unauthorized resale is much easier when it is manufactured in the same country, particularly if that country is known to be a relative safe haven for dubious business practices conducted at the expense of Western interests.

          Why are you assuming that the fake store is selling the real products? If the fake store is selling counterfeit products, then it really doesn't have anything to do with offshoring.

          • by slshwtw (1903272)

            Why are you assuming that the fake store is selling the real products?

            Why are you assuming they're not?

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            Why are you assuming that the fake store is selling the real products? If the fake store is selling counterfeit products, then it really doesn't have anything to do with offshoring.

            Makng fake iPods probably costs more than buying real ones from the factory owner.

          • If the fake store is selling counterfeit products, then it really doesn't have anything to do with offshoring.

            There is a market in China for tech schematics and other trade secrets. Companies in China do have Apple's schematics for their devices, so it's entirely possible that someone acquired those schematics, analyzed them to figure out which things they might be able to swap out for cheaper parts, and produced something that looks and acts real enough to sell. It might not be the same thing Apple is selling, but it's still based on Apple's schematics that they sent to their manufacturers in that country. In o

          • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @02:39PM (#36826678)
            Do you really not understand this? No, I want you to stop and think about the chain of events for a few seconds...You still don't get it? Wow. Let me see if I can help... see, apple decided to make all their toys over in china. Shortly afterward massive numbers of counterfeit apple products started showing up in asian markets. Then, someone opened an entire store cloned off the apple store concepts.

            Do I actually have to draw a line between the shady as all fuck manufacturers that apple contracted with and the counterfeit products? Or are you simply unaware of typical Chinese manufacturing process? I can help there too. See, Manufacturer takes contract to run 12 hours a day at 150 units an hour. They use your source material, and their hardware to do the production run. Then, at the end of 12 hours, they shut down your production run and do another 12 hour production run, expect this time they use their own source material, and their own hardware, and they sell the fakes out the back door. Now, I know what you are thinking, this is BS, this isn't really how it happens. But it actually is.
      • Wouldn't this be just as news-worthy if this was happening in Latvia?

        Maybe so, but how about this: why is this happening in China and not Latvia? Do you think it's just a coincidence that the devices also happen to be made in China?

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Often counterfeit goods are made by running the real production lines for an extra shift or whatever. If you give some factory the plans for an iPhone and pay them to make a million of them for you, how do you know that they aren't running off a million more?

    • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @02:11PM (#36826298) Homepage

      Yes, because nobody's seen a fake rolex since it's manufactured in Switzerland. Sure, manufacturing makes it easier to get blueprints, machinery, parts, make extra production runs and so on but China will continue to imitate, even if you bring the production home. You'll never be able to sell to China as long as they continue to ignore IP law. They might give it lip service from time to time but on the whole they know ignoring it is good for their economy.

  • So Apple actually exported something to China? I'm impressed!

  • by bizso09 (1695798) <bizso09 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:44PM (#36825968)
    I don't think this takes their copying to a whole new level. They've already copied an entire city [bbc.co.uk] called Hallstatt in Austria. They've built the same houses, same streets. Compared to that, copying an Apple store is nothing remarkable.
    • by will_die (586523)
      Wonder if they will replace the skulls with plaster replicas or if they got real bones.
    • by brit74 (831798)
      Those Austrian villagers got what was coming to them! If they had never outsourced the village's construction to China, then China would never have been able to duplicate it!

      (Yeah, I'm making a joke about all the people saying China couldn't clone Apple Stores if Apple didn't outsource there.)
  • You smell that? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:44PM (#36825970)
    It smells like...Karma.
  • The firm has only four stores in China, two in Beijing and two in Shanghai; these four stores in China have generated on average the highest traffic and highest revenue of any of the 323 Apple stores worldwide according to a statement by the Chief Financial Officer peter Oppenheimer back in January.

    I know revenue isn't everything, but maybe Apple should be learning something from these guys, and not the other way round...

    • when you don't pay for software or maybe hardware then it's easy to high revenue.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Those are the real stores. And if you only have four stores in an entire country they're going to tend to have high revenue. If I want to go to an Apple store there are probably 4 within an hour's drive here. If there were only one it would get a lot more business, but probably not as much as all four combined. So, more at one store isn't always better.

  • reseller which is similar to a setup in Singapore.

    After all, unless they are selling copies of Apple products where is the money? They would have to jack up the prices.

  • Why is this worrying? I really don't see the issue.

    Let them use GPL software instead.

    • Just imagine how FLOSS would flourish if the people bootlegging proprietary products were applying their resourcefulness to developing FLOSS, to the benefit of all.

    • by pakar (813627)

      They do... they ignore the GPL licenses the same way they ignore everything else they perceive as a problem...

  • I mean, what's Steve Jobs going to do about this? Cancel his contracts with Foxconn? Bwahahaha!

    When you move all of your manufacturing to China to save a buck, eventually they'll take what they learned building your shit and build their own. If that means stealing your name, logos, store designs etc., so be it. That design stuff seems to be working for Apple, after all. And Apple can't do anything about it since their business is entirely dependent on China's electronics manufacturing base. What, y
  • This is not new at all. In China you've had 4 Nokia shops in the same street for ages (0 to 1 being real, the rest fake). Even large stores like Carrefour and Wal-Mart have been copied.

    I love Apple, but they weren't "first" at this one.

  • I'm curious if the products themselves are counterfeit or if the manufacturers are selling extra production to these fake stores to turn more profit.

    Past experience tells me the products could very well be the real deal.
  • I got the impression that these stores are selling actual Apple products. Is that not the case? If they are Apple products that the stores bought wholesale from Apple, what is the alleged problem? We have other stores where we can buy Apple products in the US. These stores in China just appear to suck less than Best Buy or Walmart. Building stores that are elegant and provide an agreeable customer experience is not something that is the "intellectual property" of Apple.

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