For the first time, Apple’s latest iPhone was available to pre-order in China at the same time as the rest of the world. After barely a day, shipping times in China had already slipped to “3-4 weeks” for the 6S Plus.
While many people in China will have picked up their new iPhone in one of Apple’s official stores today — and witnessed scenes like this at the flagship store in Beijing — others will have bought their new smartphone from one of many fake Apple dealers throughout the country.
The fake Apple store phenomenon first came to light in 2011, but more are springing up all the time.
There are more than 30 Apple Stores in the southern Chinese town of Shenzhen. But Apple only has one official store and five authorised dealers in the area.
That means that most of the stores in the area — a busy 1km shopping corridor — are unauthorised fakes, but still generally sell real Apple products.
Many of them have been kitted out to look exactly like real Apple stores. The sales staff wear blue T-shirts with a white Apple logo, and display iPads, iPhones and Apple Watches on the same wooden tables you’d see in a real Apple Store.