Forget counterfeit iPhones, it’s now entire fake Apple stores that the tech giant — which is expected to unveil some new products at an event in the US on Wednesday — has to contend with in China.
In Shenzhen, an Apple Daily reporter found nearly twenty “Apple stores”, that claimed to be authorized resellers, within a 500-meter section of Huaqiangbei Road, an area well known for its electronics shops.
Employees wear badges and uniforms bearing the Apple logo in the outlets.
The shops are, however, much smaller than the original Apple stores and mainly sell refurbished old and used iPhones.
According to Apple’s official website, there are 19 authentic Apple stores in China but only one in Shenzhen.
This suggests that most of the outlets claiming to be authorized resellers in Shenzhen are pretenders.
At a Huaqiangbei Road mall where tenants are mostly engaged in wholesale trade of smartphone products, some shop operators say they can help customers start their own Apple store.
A person surnamed Yu was quoted as saying that he not only does wholesale trade of Apple products, he can also help people launch their own fake Apple store.
Props such as stand-up banners, light boxes with Apple logos as well as staff uniforms and identity cards can be found inside the store, and they look pretty much like the real ones.
So how much does it cost to start a fake Apple store in Shenzhen?
Excluding the rent, said Yu, it takes around 40,000 yuan to open a store in an area of 50 square meters.
The money will be sufficient for, among other things, floor plan design, two display tables, a few display racks and other interior design to make it look like an authentic store.
The floor plan interior design will cost about 5,500 yuan at most, while props such as uniforms and light boxes will cost between 50 yuan to 1,000 yuan per item.
Renovation is the most important part, said Yu.
“It has to be professional. Customers won’t get inside if it doesn’t look like a real Apple store”.
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