Several fake Apple Stores in China have been shuttered as they did not possess the requisite local business licences they needed to trade.
Existence of the phoney retail shops emerged last week amid suggestions that some were so convincing that even staff thought they were employed by Apple.
The ensuing media storm around the fake stores and their contents prompted a government investigation into potential counterfeiting in some 300 shops in the southwestern region.
According to Reuters, the reason for the closures was not that they were peddling dodgy gear – they were buying from authorised resellers – but that they didn't have commercial permits rubber-stamped by local government officials.
A mouthpiece for the Chinese government confirmed only two of the five stores had been closed. He told Reuters: "China has taken great steps to enforce intellectual property rights and the stores weren't selling fakes."
Channel bully boy Apple has strict criteria that prospective resellers must meet before they can open a store heavily peppered with its brand – understandably so – but even when resellers jump through hoops, they still find themselves competing directly with Apple and its fleet of shopfronts.
Apple has four bona fide stores in China, in the capital and Shanghai, but has 13 authorised resellers in Kunming, some of which are applying to become part of Apple's channel. ®