An American living in China has exposed at least three fake Apple stores designed to look like the distinctive outlets operated by the popular U.S. technology retailer.
The woman posted photos of the stores in the southern city of Kunming on her blog, BirdAbroad. The photos show stores that look like genuine Apple stores, complete with employees wearing Apple's trademark blue T-shirts emblazoned with the company's iconic fruit logo.
The blogger says the stores' poor construction and interior design, along with a misspelled "Apple Store" sign in front of one of them, revealed them to be bogus.
It was not known whether any of the devices sold in the stores were genuine Apple products, or even whether they worked.
Apple, whose iPhone and iPad computer tablets are highly popular in China, has only four officially listed stores in the country -- two each in Beijing and Shanghai. There are also a number of authorized resellers, none of them located in Kunming.
China is home to the world's biggest market of counterfeit products, despite the government's repeated pledge to crack down on piracy.
Ken Dewoskin, a senior advisor to the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte China, tells VOA companies try to address the problem quietly behind the scenes to avoid a public backlash through the state-run media.
Dewoskin also says companies feel the fake goods enhance their name in the market, and that the public will eventually learn to tell the real products from the counterfeit versions.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.