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China Piracy Apple

China Cracks Down On Fake Apple Stores 146

Posted by timothy
from the love-apple-but-a-tomato dept.
angry tapir writes "The Chinese city of Kunming has stopped 22 fake Apple stores from illegally using the company's iconic trademarks after Apple lodged a complaint with authorities. Kunming authorities found 20 unauthorized Apple resellers. Currently, 11 of those resellers are being investigated. Two other stores were discovered for related violations. Slashdot first discussed the mushrooming of fake Apple Stores in July."
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China Cracks Down On Fake Apple Stores

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  • I wonder how many people will be executed for this whole ordeal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:00PM (#37090830)

      Maybe, but look at it from the flipside: China generally takes a very lax approach to Western copyright infringement. Them snapping to action to shut these stores down implies that China is afraid of Apple. Seriously. They fucked around with Google just like anyone else, but they're running scared under the fear that Apple will crack down on them.

      Do the MacHeads realize just how much raw, unchecked power they're giving the lunatics at Apple? God help us all, China is afraid of them now!

      • by mattventura (1408229) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:07PM (#37090864) Homepage
        I'm guessing that it's because Apple uses China for their manufacturing, and it would hurt the Chinese economy if they were to take their business elsewhere.
        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:20PM (#37090950) Homepage

          And I'm guessing that they're just paying lip service to Apple, copyrights, patents and the like. And as soon as the store owners start paying the right people, it will be business as usual (again).

          • by Solandri (704621) on Monday August 15, 2011 @12:57AM (#37091568)
            The Economist had an interesting breakdown of an iPhone's manufacture [economist.com]. It actually looks like the U.S., Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are the biggest beneficiaries from the iPhone's manufacture. Well, aside from Apple itself that is. Foxconn's slice of the iPhone pie is minuscule.
            • Well that's one way of looking at it. The other is that Foxconn's revenue is about $60 billion, and Apple is their largest customer. That's not small change, and whatever way you look at it it's orders of magnitude more important to the Chinese economy than 22 fake Apple Stores.

              • by GooberToo (74388)

                and whatever way you look at it it's orders of magnitude more important to the Chinese economy than 22 fake Apple Stores.

                That's really the bottom line. For next to nothing, they can create good will. Now if these stores were generating a few billion, likely China would have told Apple to get bent.

                • by s73v3r (963317)

                  Now if these stores were generating a few billion, likely China would have told Apple to get bent.

                  And Apple would then have told China to get bent, moving all of their manufacturing elsewhere.

                  • by GooberToo (74388)

                    Which would very likely still be a win for China.

                    • by s73v3r (963317)

                      No, not really. Someone that large pulling out of China is going to make waves. In addition to all the lost jobs, there is bound to be an insane amount of press coverage on the story. Now China is no longer seen as a place where IP isn't respected, but a place that doesn't even respect Chinese IP (Apple has several trademarks registered in China, as do many of the other companies that do business there), and will tell you to "get bent" when you ask them to resolve it. Given that, there are bound to be many

          • And I'm guessing that they're just paying lip service to Apple, copyrights, patents and the like. And as soon as the store owners start paying the right people, it will be business as usual (again).

            Apple isn't some company that can be hijacked without any real consequences. They literally make EVERYTHING in China and are a major hardware player. China could care less about most things fake such as fake purses, fake IDs, fake software, fake clothing, etc. A fake Gucci purse isn't going to cause much trouble and the enforcement of it would really be a drag and would not add any value since all that stuff is made else where by not hugely influential companies.

            China really doesn't have much to gain from f

            • by Tarlus (1000874)

              They literally make EVERYTHING in China

              I can guarantee you this isn't true.

              • They literally make EVERYTHING in China

                I can guarantee you this isn't true.

                Ok maybe not literally, but practically.

                Well and also taiwan.

        • Well that and the fact that China taxes Apple products(and most "foreign" products for that matter) out the wazoo and these stores were getting around it by sourcing their stuff from abroad(probably almost exclusively Hong Kong) and then selling them in China without paying the tax....

          For comparison, I just checked the price on an entry level macbook air in China compared to the US, its about 25% more expensive in China, probably almost entirely due to taxes placed on it by the Chinese. Those same taxes
          • For comparison, I checked the Hong Kong price, its actually CHEAPER(by about $15 US) than the price in the US is.
            • by Whuffo (1043790)

              There's LOTS of electronic manufacturing companies with offices in Hong Kong, and the factories just over the border in Shenzhen

              You can find all kinds of repacked / refurbished / overrun / returned / third shift / fell off of the truck products for sale in Hong Kong. The prices are low - but there might be a problem with warranty coverage, etc. You'll see lots of electronics being sold on Ebay with the seller located in Hong Kong. I spent a few days there last month and was amazed at how much pirated / ques

              • The prices I quoted were from the Apple site, so I doubt its something that just "fell off the truck"
                • by biodata (1981610)
                  How do you know it was the 'real' Apple site?
                  • Um, unless somehow the fake apple store people have hacked apple.com/hk to sell there stuff, I'm pretty sure its the real apple site.
                    • by biodata (1981610)
                      I was jk really, but actually, as we've seen recently it is probably a lot easier to set up a fake website on someone else's server than fake up an actual shop or 10.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        China generally takes a very lax approach to Western copyright infringement. Them snapping to action to shut these stores down implies that China is afraid of Apple. Seriously. They fucked around with Google just like anyone else, but they're running scared under the fear that Apple will crack down on them.

        China is not afraid of Apple, they are trying to seduce Apple. China greatly dislikes that they assemble Apple products and do not really produce many of the more advanced components. They want Apple to relocate manufacturing to China. The question is, is Apple that dumb? I hope not.

      • by gutnor (872759)
        China wants to manufacture everything we consume, they cannot afford the bad publicity that even one of the most powerful/recognizable companies on earth is getting screwed in China. As long as your business is not important enough to make the cover page of some important journal, you will be screwed in China with impunity.

        The Google case was different. Google was competing directly in the Chinese market - and China is *very* protective of its own economy. If Google had only required a million slaves to up

      • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Monday August 15, 2011 @03:51AM (#37092088) Journal
        See, "Apple" is a registered trademark inside China, and China DOES pay attention to its own internal IP. I have several US patents and a few Chinese patents; I've actually walked into Chinese factories and seen my US patents getting knocked off (and quietly copied down the names of the US customers, and we had a nice "licensing" talk when I got back to the US). I've also seen one of my Chinese patents getting knocked off - a quick call to the local customs and IP bureau and things were shut down REAL quick, and the Chinese company licensed up as well.

        .
        Like most countries, China doesn't give a rip about your overseas IP; if it's not Chinese, it doesn't matter. Likewise in the US - if you infringe a Chinese or Japanese patent in the US, the US doesn't care. Funny how that works - countries only care about IP registered in their own countries (and this includes the EU where you can register with the EU and PCT, but still need to apply for patents in each individual country for protection). Apple now has a trademark on "Apple" for computers and electronics, so the Chinese authorities took action. No trademark in China? The Chinese government wouldn't do anything...

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Maybe, but look at it from the flipside: China generally takes a very lax approach to Western copyright infringement. Them snapping to action to shut these stores down implies that China is afraid of Apple. Seriously. They fucked around with Google just like anyone else, but they're running scared under the fear that Apple will crack down on them.

        Or perhaps China realizes that copyrights don't mean much when so much is being created anyways.

        But patents and trademarks, if China wants to be the next superpowe

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Since no one criticized the government, practiced free religion, or poisoned anyone, so it's doubtful anyone will be executed.

      • by petman (619526)
        China doesn't totally ban practice of religion. People are free to practice what they like, as long as they do what the government tells them to do. What the government has problem with, is organised religion, like Christianity, that tells people that they should do this and that, instead of what the government dictates.
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      You say that as if you think Apple cares. I have the distinct feeling that as long as it doesn't get on international news, they don't really care.
    • by blai (1380673)
      China doesn't execute people for these relatively tiny sins. 50k yuan in the judge's pocket will get these people out in a week.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:26PM (#37090984)

      I wonder how many people will be executed for this whole ordeal.

      They wont be executed. They will just be fined and arrested, and sentenced into whatever prison camp pays or is owned by the local government authorities. If you think prison is big business in the US, you haven't seen anything until you look at China. Forced labor, manufacturing, hell, even WoW goldfarming is done in Chinese prisons. Why kill someone when they can make you a couple hundred dollars worth of profit a month without having to worry about the government coming after you?

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday August 15, 2011 @12:42AM (#37091518)

        If you think prison is big business in the US, you haven't seen anything until you look at China.

        On a per capita basis, the USA imprisons four times as many people as China.

        • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday August 15, 2011 @02:05AM (#37091752) Homepage

          According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison), USA has more prisoners than china even in absolute numbers!
          Some quick calculations tell me USA actually imprissions over five times as many people as China per capita.

          • by dwater (72834)

            Does that include those that are executed?

            • by mwvdlee (775178)

              Yes.
              Even taking the highest estimates for execution in China, it's still thousands of executions compared to millions of prisoners; statistically it makes little difference to the "five times" estimate.
              China currently executes roughly 10x more people per capita than the US.
              Ofcourse that's ignoring the US "backlog" of several thousands sentenced to death still in prison; these may or may not be executed in the future. But also this number would make little difference statistically.

          • Land of the free? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:24AM (#37092198) Journal
            Thanks for the link, the map is really informative, from an Aussie's POV I find it unsurprising we are in the same band as Canada but I didn't expect China to be in there too.

            I recently read another appalling statistical comparison ( somewhere on scienceblogs ), it said; -
            The 27 nations of western Europe (including the UK) have a total population of 500M and a prison population of 600K (total for ALL crimes). The USA has a total population of 300M and a prison population of 500K (DRUG crimes only).

            [citation] - According to my legacy 1950's wetware.
    • by ushere (1015833)
      none - but if you mention it to anyone you'll find yourself in front of a firing squad, or worse still, working for foxconn.
    • I don't think Jobs will go that far. Maybe just some mild torture.
    • I wonder how many people will be executed for this whole ordeal.

      I remember during the cold war, all sorts of nonsense was talked in the west about Russia. I see that now America is challenged in economic might by China, they are now object of the disinformation and wild conjecture.

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday August 15, 2011 @03:57AM (#37092102)

      I wonder how many people will be executed for this whole ordeal.

      What idiots vote this nonsense "interesting"? China has executed people for selling milk with generous amounts of grinded plastic added, making hundred thousands sick. China has executed people for stealing millions from state owned businesses. China doesn't execute people for opening a shop with a false Apple logo.

    • Fair enough. Some will face some crazy sentences. Or perhaps, like many posts indicated, will just pay their way out of this one.

      Having said that, whoever made the call to mimic a Western store should have also considered the consequences. I have very little sympathy for people who break the law (for their personal gain) and then complain when they get caught. Even if it's trademark or copyright legislation. Those folks tend not to regret the infringement but the fact that they got caught.

      If you can't

    • by Stargoat (658863) *

      No one over there cares. Last time I was over there, I had the opportunity to eat at Harry Potter Burger. (I did not, but could have.) Everyone knew it was fake, but did not care. There is a long established history in China of taking someone's intellectual property and bastardizing it. For example, the last 40 chapters of Dreams of Red Mansions. [wikipedia.org]

      To the Mandarin mind, if it is not government work, it is just a way to make money and not terribly important. The fake Apple Stores are a minor embarrassment

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      So should Apple just turn the other way, and let these egregious violations take place without taking any kind of action just because some people might be punished for it?

  • The Chinese city of Kunming has arrested a counterfeit group of investigators from shutting down 22 dejure Apple stores, and have instead focussed on shutting down the counterfeit City of Kunming and it's officers. "It's a crazy day, indeed! We had a counterfeit city with it's own investigators arresting actual registered Apple franchises, and when these counterfeit officers were captured they were operating out of our very own city buildings! 2 sides to every business card I guess." We are currently loo

  • iKid-ney (Score:1, Insightful)

    When will they crack down on the criminals that took this boy's kidney in a state hospital? Oh right, never.

    Just pointing that doesn't matter how much or how less fascist your government is, if it's the Corp orders:

    YOU
    BEND
    OVER
    PERIOD
    .

  • Are the people in China really this misinformed about the goings on in their country to where they have to have the authorities sort this out for them?

    I can't imagine they would stand for shopping at these stores had they known, after all they're there for the brand name like the rest of us, aren't they?

    • Well when these stories originally broke there were some employees at these stores that were surprised to learn they were not really working for Apple.
    • by delinear (991444)
      The fashion industry spend a small fortune trying to prevent fakes of their products hitting the market - if people were only interested in the real brands that wouldn't be the case. Some people want the higher quality that comes with a particular brand, others aren't so fussy and just want to be seen carrying a product bearing the logo, and if they can do that at a low, low price, they'll happily go for it.
  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:33PM (#37091022)

    Declined to comment on the closing the fake Apple Stores.

  • by Greyfox (87712)
    Apple has so much pull in China, they even pretended to care about an IP complaint? That's impressive.
    • by Teun (17872)
      I suppose Apple never even contacted the Chinese authorities but instead leaned on their Chinese suppliers who in turn contacted the local mob/ party official who then had things straightened out.
  • some one was either left out of the chain or their backer isn't high up enough; there are factories manufacturing counterfeit goods for years and no amount of complaints resulted in much of anything.

  • Theres a bunch of iphone knockoffs here in india too. Heres one with the specs:
    http://mrtara.com/2010/04/21/ephone-mobile-phone-specifications-ephone-features-and-offers-ephone-mobile-price-in-india/ [mrtara.com]
    89$

    • Accessories include: String, USB cable, Charger, and Radiation Guard.
      • Not only does it come with those fine items, but it sports a Bluetooth cable as well!

        Take that you Android fanbois!

    • by wvmarle (1070040)
      This is not about phones, this is about complete shops. They copied Apple's shop design, down to the employee's uniforms. Note that the article mentions these shops appeared to be selling genuine merchandise - so that part was not faked, for a change.
  • by SilverJets (131916) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @11:18PM (#37091220) Homepage

    They'd wait for Chinese authorities to seize the stores as part of the case and then buy them for next to nothing. Already set up stores with the same look and feel as a legitimate store though they probably need some minor touch ups to bring them fully up to Apple spec. But...wow....they could get a new retail location for practically nothing.

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday August 15, 2011 @04:11AM (#37092148)

      If Apple was smart, they'd be the largest company in America, and have more cash then the US government.

    • Apple would NEVER do this. Steve Jobs is meticulous about how the stores are set up even if they are in China. The tables in all of their stores cost 10,000 since they are made of a special wood. All of the floors are made from a stone from a quarry in which APPLE OWNS!

      There is a reason apple only has 4 stores in mainland China. They don't do anything half ass. If they want to sell Apple products they would pay an electronic store to sell them than make half ass stores.

  • vs. the US??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebonum (830686) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @11:21PM (#37091236)

    1. I've read that the products sold were genuine.

    2. Go to rural Alabama and ask those people about US intellectual property law. See how well they do. Somehow Americans expect people in a distant country who grew up under a communist regime ( not so communist for only the last 10 years. This is Kunming - not Shanghai or Beijing or Shenzhen ) to understand the laws of a country 5,000 miles away when a lot of Americans don't know American law. Then try asking people in Alabama making wood products to be shipped to China about the intricacies of Chinese building codes. If they don't know all the answers, what do you expect? We should put them in jail for not following Chinese laws?

    Honestly people. Chinese in Kunming lived in a world from 200 years ago until just recently.

    • Re:vs. the US??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by poity (465672) on Monday August 15, 2011 @12:50AM (#37091538)

      Point 2 is irrelevant. No one is expecting the consumers to know all that you've listed, that's not a rebuttal to anything. The expectation is on the businessmen who establish these American-branded retail shops internationally -- in which case YES they should know their shit, and when they intentionally abuse the system they should bear the consequences.

    • China, maybe to your surprise, is not part of the USA. They have their own laws. They don't give a rodents rectum about what laws would apply in Alabama when it comes to how they decorate some store in China, since that part of China is not actually in Alabama. If you were able to quote applicable international treaties and maybe even local China law, I'd be all ears. Until then, your argument is not applicable.
  • You know... sabotage [google.com] ? (EG)

  • It's a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Y-Crate (540566) on Monday August 15, 2011 @12:36AM (#37091510)

    All the effort that goes into creating knock-offs could be used to make something truly original.

    • by biodata (1981610)
      Like a cheap Apple product?
  • About time they shut those joints down. Last time I was in Beijing I stopped by an apple store to get lunch, but when I bit into it -- wax!
  • Were the fake stores actually a plus to Apple? While they are not authentic Apple Stores, they still are pretty neat shops which sell original Apple gear.
  • Fake Steve Jobs, of course.
  • It is looking very good for me,ir it's goo when that ,i hope that.

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