A few bad apples
Chinese product pirates recently took their art a big step further. They pirated not the products themselves — in this case, Apple computers — but rather the entire store selling them.
An American blogger living in Kunming, in Yunnan province, discovered five fake Apple stores in her city. Designed to look exactly like real Apple stores found in other parts of the world, they were staffed by men and women in pirated Apple uniforms, a number of whom seemed to believe they actually worked for the California-based company.
The blogger noticed that the storefronts differed from reputable Apple stores by including text with the iconic company logo. On at least one sign, the word "store" was misspelled as "stoer"; and the "stoer" employees' badges didn't show their names, only the word "staff".
When major news agencies reported the story, readers began submitting their own reports of fake Apple stores in many other countries, including Slovenia, Colombia and Vietnam. Chinese authorities took an interest, too, finding and shutting down 22 fake Apple stores in Kunming alone. The stores have since been allowed to reopen under a different name.
The headline of this story refers to a popular saying: "One bad apple ruins the barrel" or "One bad apple spoils the entire bunch". This means that one person behaving badly will have a negative influence on everyone around him. In China, that negative influence didn't start with the fake Apple stores, however. Kunming has had fake Ikea stores since 2004.