We’ve seen knock-off phones and copy-cat app stores; how about a fake brick-and-mortar ‘Apple Store’?

China was “a big part” of Apple’s through-the-roof iPhone sales, Apple COO Tim Cook shared during the company’s latest earnings announcement. (Unfiltered: Apple’s record-breaking iPhone sales came thanks to developing markets.)

IMG_6527editedHow much its Kunming store in southwest China contributed to the iPhone’s 142% year-on-year growth is unclear. Not quite the knock-out its Shanghai store is, the Kunming location, complete with the latest devices, signage, employee name tags and signature architectural details is — completely unbeknownst to the store’s employees — a knock-off.

According to the lady of the house behind the Wordpress BirdAbroad blog who broke the story:

This was a total Apple store rip-off. A beautiful rip-off — a brilliant one — the best rip-off store we had ever seen (and we see them every day). But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly.

Apple never writes “Apple Store” on its signs — it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit.

Whether the iPad 2 tablets and other devices on display were as fake as the store front and whether — fake storefront or not — they contributed to Apple’s bottom line, is anyone’s guess.

“I…may or may not have told them that we were two American Apple employees visiting China and checking out the local stores,” she continued. “Either way, they got friendlier and allowed me to snap some pictures.”

Photo courtesy of BirdAbroad

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