Trade officials in China have taken action against operators of 22 fake Apple Stores operating in one city.
According to a report by the BBC, the stores were all found in the Southern Chinese city of Kunming, with operators told by authorities to remove Apple logos and other unauthorised marketing.
The practise was first noted by Kunming resident and China blogger BirdAbroad, who observed that the stores were well executed rip-offs right down to staff uniforms and lanyards.
Staff believed they were working for Apple.
One of the most egregious fakes had the misspelled sign ‘Apple Stoer’.
It was unknown where the fake stores sourced their stock - for instance whether they were 'grey' or black market operators.
With so many fake stores found in just one city there were concerns that there could be much larger number of fakes throughout the country. Apple has four genuine stores in China.
China had a dubious record on intellectual property theft and the government has been under pressure for many years to do something about it. Several countries including the United States doubted its commitment.
Apple conducted most of its product manufacturing in factories in China which made millions of dollars and employed thousands of workers.
The news of the crackdown came as Apple continued to open legitimate stores, having launched two in Sydney in almost as many weeks.