China Shuts Down Fake Apple Stores, but Not Because They’re Fake

They didn't have proper business permits

Last week, an American blogger living in the China reported having stumbled upon three phony Apple stores in her hometown of Kunming. Now, Chinese officials have ordered some of the stores to close—but not for the reason you’d think.

Of the five Apple stores found, only two of them were told to shut down. The stores aren’t being forced to close because of piracy or copyright concerns but because they didn’t have an official business permit, reported Reuters.

The counterfeit Apple store featured in BirdAbroad’s blog will be allowed to stay open, according to a government spokesman, and is applying for a reseller license with Apple.

“Media should not misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions. Some overseas media has made it appear the stores sold fake Apple products,” said Chang Puyun, spokesman of Kunming government's business bureau. “China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights, and the stores weren't selling fake products.”

He added that officials are investigating whether Apple had applied with the government to have their store design and layout protected by law. In addition to protecting trademarks, Chinese law supposedly prohibits companies from copying the “look and feel” of other companies' stores, says Reuters, but those laws are known for being poorly enforced.