A huge portion of Apple’s record breaking revenue recorded during the quarter gone originated in China. During yesterday’s earnings conference call, Apple COO Tim Cook explained that Apple had only begun to scratch the surface in China. Indeed, with reports that Apple may soon ink a deal with China Mobile and its 600 million+ subscribers, China is poised to be an even more integral part of Apple’s worldwide expansion.
But not everything in China is rosy. The country, how shall we say this, doesn’t appear to take Intellectual Property law as seriously as most other countries do, if at all. The market for counterfeit and knockoff Apple products in China is nothing to scoff at, and some offerings are eerily similar to the real deal.
While knocking off consumer electronic products is one thing, knocking off the entire Apple retail store experience is another.
Yet that’s exactly what seems to be happening right now in China. If you thought those Microsoft retail stores were rip offs, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
The BirdAbroad blog writes that counterfeit Apple Stores are alive and well in China and it has the pictures to prove it. Somewhat comically, many of the workers BirdAbroad spoke to genuinely believe they’re working for an official Apple retail outlet.
And to be honest, why wouldn’t they? From the use of wood floors, authentic Apple employee gear, and hell, even a spiral staircase, no detail was left out on efforts to mimic the Apple Store experience, from top to bottom.
Apple’s attention to user experience within its retail stores have played an integral role in Apple’s resurgence. The free flowing environment where users can tinker with Apple products is a great way to strike up the appetite of consumers. Over the past few years, Apple stores have become, on a per square foot basis, the most profitable retail stores in the country.
But not surprisingly, while these knockoff stores may share the first-glance aesthetic of an Apple Store, they reportedly lacked the high quality polish Apple is known for. Poorly made stairs and painted walls that didn’t quite seem consistent are just two examples BirdAbroad relays over.
Notice any detail that they may have overlooked? Besides, when’s the last time you saw “Apple Store” printed up on any of Apple’s official Apple Store locations?
Lastly, this isn’t suburban America, Apple Store launches in China have been few and have garnered a ton of press.
And of course, Apple’s own website will tell you that they only have a few stores in Beijing and Shanghai, opened only recently; Apple famously opens new stores painstakingly, presumably to assure impeccable standards and lots of customer demand.
And believe it or not, but there were reportedly 3 of these stores located all on the same city block.
As their earnings report indicated yesterday, Apple products sell.