Fake reseller presents an interesting conundrum for Apple

As China continues to advance its global economic power, we've all become familiar with the Chinese capacity to deliver uncannily accurate knock-off products, particularly when it comes to desirable consumer items such as designer handbags or iPods. Butnow it seemsthat some people in Chinahave taken

As China continues to advance its global economic power, we've all become familiar with the Chinese capacity to deliver uncannily accurate knock-off products, particularly when it comes to desirable consumer items such as designer handbags or iPods.

But now it seems that some people in China have taken things a step further; a blogger living in the south-western city of Kunming has uncovered what appears to be nothing less than an entire, fake, Apple Store.

The clues to the dubious provenance of the Kunming Apple store are fairly obvious from the photos that the blogger managed to take - apparently by telling mall security she worked for Apple - the branding and fonts are all slightly off, and Apple never has signs saying 'Apple Store', preferring instead to let its logo do the talking.

That and Apple currently has just four stores in China, and none of them in relatively obscure Kunming.

The sheer cheek of whoever set up this little enterprise, selling what may or may not be fake Apple kit - it's impossible to tell from the pictures - is quite staggering.

But then again, you sort of have to admire the enterprise involved in setting up an entire fake channel for Apple, without its knowledge. In a way, Apple should be sort of flattered.

So what is Apple to do? Does it go for the jugular and get the Chinese authorities to crack down?

It almost certainly will.

But I'd like to suggest another course of action may be open to Steve Jobs here. Apple still maintains a channel of Premium Resellers, companies that effectively deck their premises out like an Apple Store and provide all the official services you'd expect from Apple itself.

The demand for Apple products in China is staggering and Apple cannot possibly hope to service that demand as quickly as it would like, so setting up an authorised reseller channel to address the market more effectively would seem like a sensible course of action.

This was first published in July 2011

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