China: Fake Apple store discovery followed by copycat Ikea
Customers cycle past newly-opened Ikea in China's west Chengdu, 29 November 2006. Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea opens its fourth shop in the remote western city after Beijng, Shanghai and Guangzhou. (Getty Images)
August 2nd, 2011
02:38 PM ET

China: Fake Apple store discovery followed by copycat Ikea

Editor's Note: The following piece comes from Global Post, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and odd.

On the heels of the discovery of a fake Apple store in China comes a four-storey shopping experience that bears a remarkable similarity to that of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, complete with a blue-and-yellow Swedish color scheme and a minimalist furniture aesthetic.

The fake Apple store (now shut down) was discovered last month by an American blogger in Kunming, a city in southwestern China, and drew international media attention. The store was an elaborate fake, complete with a classic Apple store winding staircase, staff in blue T-shirts with chunky name-tag lanyards around their necks, and it even sold genuine Apple products.

The massive copycat Ikea, also in Kunming, similarly “rips off every single aspect of the Ikea furniture concept,” writes the Shanghaiist blog.

This includes the font type on signs, miniature pencils and blue-and-yellow shopping bags for in-store use, and minimalist furniture design. The Ikea copycat store also has a cafeteria-style restaurant with utilitarian wooden tables — although it serves Chinese braised pork and eggs instead of Swedish meatballs, according to Reuters, which visited the store.

The Ikea wannabe is named 11 Furniture Store, which in Chinese is “Shi Yi Jia Ju, (十一家具) — similar to Ikea’s Chinese name, “Yi Jia Jia Ju” (宜家家具), Reuters says.

Ikea has numerous legitimate stores in China — including the world’s largest Ikea in Beijing.

While China has long been known for its sophisticated counterfeits of luxury handbags, DVDs and running shoes, the phenomenon of stores copying an international brand experience takes piracy to a different level, Reuters says.

However, the fake Apple and Ikea stores are not without precedent: see also a Starbucks look-a-like coffee shop called USAbucks, in the northeastern city of Harbin.

Kunming, a city of 7 million, is in Yunnan province — far away from China’s affluent eastern seaboard, which was the first part of China to see major international brands set up shop. Reuters notes that the fake stores show the growing demand for famous products and services in western China.

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Topics: China

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. USA

    Chinese is amazing!

    August 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    It's most embarrassing! The harder it is to make a living, the more many are prepared to sell their own grandmother just to make a fast buck.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • USA

      To the Afgan and Iraqis, for our own USA national interest, we will sell our souls plus thier grandmothers.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • Taiwanguy

        Totally, they sold our grandmothers too! A little fake apple or ikea is mickey mouse compare to sugar coated carpet bombs.

        August 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
      • USA

        I rather see more of our own youth making some kind of copycat products than doing nothing.

        August 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  3. david k lashley

    WHERE DID THE JOBS GO ?

    In 2010, we imported $3,649,439,000,000.00 worth of products from China.
    In 2010, we imported $229,907,900,000.00 worth of product from Mexico.

    For the ease of calculation, lets say all products from China and Mexico had a cost of 50% material, 20 % labor, 30% profit.

    So if we multiply 20% times $4,379,887,800,000.00 we get $875,863,560,000.00

    The average assembly worker in the U.S. is from $50,000.00 to $75,000.00.

    If these products were manufactured in the U.S. then
    $875,863,560,000.00 divided by $50,000.00 equals 17,517,271 jobs
    $875,863,560,000.00 divided by $75,000.00 equals 11,678,180 jobs

    August 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
    • USA

      Why work while we can get all those imports for nothing? After all, we did pay them with our fool’s gold bank notes.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  4. USA

    Is this stealing?
    "The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) produced 649,600,000 U.S. notes in February of 2008 worth a total of $13,779,200,000. ... Spread across the 29 days in February and counting weekends and holidays, that averages to nearly 22.5 million notes per day with a face value of approximately $475 million." -

    August 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  5. Mike Smith

    Chinese human rights abuse:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbDSOmTWU7U&w=640&h=390]

    August 3, 2011 at 12:32 am | Reply
  6. Mike Smith

    Chinese human rights abuse:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gohXIkN8bg&w=640&h=390]

    August 3, 2011 at 12:33 am | Reply
  7. Mike Smith

    Magazine Breaks News on Organ Harvesting in China

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvOu_3dlQ6M&w=640&h=390]

    August 3, 2011 at 12:33 am | Reply
  8. Mike Smith

    Chinese human rights abuse:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyRSyYMhW2E&w=640&h=390]

    August 3, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply
  9. makelvin

    Copycat practices are not unique to China. It is done all around the world with all sorts of businesses. Just look at after the introduction of iPhone, look how many similar looking phones introduced by Android, Nokia and Palm immediately afterward. What about the original Mac and quickly followed by Microsoft’s Windows. Just look at the differences and similarities between Walmart, Kmart, and Target. What about Home Depot and Lowe’s? Not too mention the Ikea store itself makes a lot of copycat furniture knockoffs from some of the more famous designers. Of course, they are not called copycat; but instead, they are called fast followers.

    The fake Apple store is definitely an exception because the store use actual Apple logo with all of their employees wear the Apple T-Shirts to make customers think they are an actual Apple store; even some of the employees there thought they worked for Apple. That crossed the line of copycat or fast followers to downright infringement and fraud. This is a very important distinction. The article about the fake Ikea store in China seems complete bogus and is nothing like the fake Apple store because their names are completely different in Chinese. They tried to make people think the names sounds similar because Ikea store in Chinese is “Yi Jia Jia Ju” and 11 Furniture in Chinese is “Shi Yi Jia Ju”; but in fact, they are completely different and any Chinese would know that. This is because “Jia Ju” in Chinese means furniture. Most furniture stores would have that in their names. It is the first two characters there differentiate their names and they sound, look, and mean completely different. No one in China would have thought they are getting into an Ikea store.

    August 3, 2011 at 7:48 am | Reply
    • Ed

      That's a pretty sorry attempt at fighting back. No one is implying the similarity between the names 十一家具 and 宜家家具 implies the store in china is a rip-off of the real Ikea. Anyone who understands ENGLISH would understand that the author was obviously pointing out that everything INSIDE the store from products to decoration to cafeteria was a replica of the real store. There was an obvious intent to make the store look and feel like the real Ikea store (with exception of the food they served). It's unbelievable how ignorant some people are. That'snotTrue:[ must be smoking crack for agreeing with you.

      August 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Reply
      • That'snotTrue:[

        Really, when wasn't it implied that it isn't a copy cat store, the author of this article specifically compared the nemes.
        You need the head check...and reread the article!

        August 5, 2011 at 11:50 am |
      • That'snotTrue:[

        Really, when wasn't it implied that it isn't a copy cat store, the author of this article specifically compared the names.
        You need the head check...and reread the article!

        August 5, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  10. Taiwanguy

    “the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
    –Samuel P. Huntington

    August 3, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
  11. That'snotTrue:[

    ...Umm, this isn't a copycat store, jia ju like makelvin said means furniture. It isn't copying Ikea, it's just a furniture store with a different first name. CNN do your research, if you wanted to report on copycat stores at least report the real things NOT stores that you think are copycats because the author here have no comprehension of Chinese.
    &&& If other readers don't believe me, google "Chinese meaning jia ju" or somehing along the lines of it (^.^)
    &&& Author of this article, buy yourself a Chinese/English dictionary.

    August 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  12. MUA

    The author forget the so-call copycat store is in China and the people still go by the Chinese store name.

    August 4, 2011 at 12:43 am | Reply
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