A sales staff watches people wait in line to buy the newly released Apple Inc. iPad 2 tablet computer at the Apple store on May 6, 2011 in Beijing, China.
Credit: Lintao Zhang

If China is indeed cracking down on counterfeits, they must be concentrating on ones that are smaller than a breadbox.

Because, as the Bird Abroad blogger points out, they aren't doing a very good job with ones as big as a computer store.

That's right. A whole store.

Bird Abroad, a 27-year-old female expat in Kunming, China, writes:

It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue t-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks. ...

We proceeded to place a bet on whether or not this was a genuine Apple store or just the best ripoff we had ever seen – and to be sporting, I bet that it was real.

But what proved more shocking than an Apple store in Kunming, was an Apple store that is fake from bottom to top.

A beautiful ripoff — a brilliant one — the best ripoff store we had ever seen (and we see them every day). But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly.

Apple never writes “Apple Store” on it’s signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit. ...

Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple. I tried to imagine the training that they went to when they were hired, in which they were pitched some big speech about how they were working for this innovative, global company – when really they’re just filling the pockets of some shyster living in a prefab mansion outside the city by standing around a fake store disinterestedly selling what may or may not be actual Apple products that fell off the back of a truck somewhere.

Pretty special stuff.

The Atlantic Wire points out that:

When Apple announced record-high quarterly revenues and profits yesterday, COO Tim Cook noted that China — where the company's four stores bring in the most traffic and revenue of any Apple stores in the world — was "key to our results."

Apple's future is clearly in emerging markets, but given the scope of counterfeiting in China, ZDnet asks how long that record growth is likely to last.

The comparison to Apple in China is Microsoft. Microsoft makes little money in China due to piracy.

Apple's website reports four (and only four) stores in China, with those in Beijing and Shanghai recent additions.

But a quick stroll from this one in Kunming yielded two more knock-off Apple stores!

Check out Bird Abroad for pics of this stunningly realistic store.

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