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Images inside the fake Apple store  (Source: BirdAbroad Blog)
Counterfeiting remains a global problem that only seems to accelerate, despite higher enforcement

Companies continually try to fight counterfeit and pirated material, but often fall short of successfully making a difference in stopping this billion-dollar industry.  

Counterfeiters are willing to steal anything from cash and tech products to gas, oil and cigarettes that consumers are mistakenly purchasing under the misconception of receiving real products.

Investigators in China are looking into a counterfeit Apple store that closely mimics a legitimate Apple store in other parts of the world.  The store is located in Kunming and isn't identified as an authorized Apple retailer, and police investigators visited the store.  From blogger photos and on-site investigation, even the employees wore identical Apple employee t-shirts you'd see in any other Apple store.

Ironically, the demand for counterfeit goods could generate larger business revenue for Apple, if the company wants to promote legal products.  A real iPad 2 can be purchased for up to $499, and in other parts of China can reach almost $600 in price, with counterfeiters able to draw in shoppers by offering lower-cost products.  

Other tech companies have adjusted price scales depending how prevalent pirated and stolen property is in China and other parts of the world, while also creating anti-counterfeit investigation teams.

Although it would seem unbelievable, similar faked stores have opened to sell counterfeit clothing and other consumer goods -- both inside China's borders, and across the world, including into the United States.

Consumers often ignore counterfeiting as solely a corporate problem, but companies warn everyone plays a role.  When shoppers head into neighborhoods to purchase fake handbags or movies, they understand it's a faked product; however, consumers purchasing counterfeit goods are being deceived into thinking it's a legitimate product.

Anti-counterfeit efforts have greatly increased by US federal authorities and across the world -- and it's not just the Chinese government that has to face this growing problem.  Authorities have discovered counterfeit goods can be significantly more profitable than drugs, with higher profit value and lower risk of jail time when caught.

A recent counterfeit smuggling ring based in China was busted making more than 11 million fake cigarettes with an estimated street value of almost $5M.  These cigarettes were aimed for the UK market, but increasing tobacco tax in the United States also makes it a lucrative market for fake cigarettes.  

Furthermore, counterfeit issues also plague medical patients trying to purchase real medications that are brought in from Mexico, South America, and other parts of the world.  Another recent epidemic includes fake consumer electronics that lead to hardware failure and electrical fires.  US investigators are most worried about these types of products being sold over the Internet, brought into the country, and otherwise hitting the streets due to public safety issues.

Companies from multiple industries plan to battle counterfeit goods, and actively assist police and federal authorities, as billions of dollars are up for grabs by sometimes clever criminals.  These companies also are trying to launch education efforts to help consumers to pay attention to the products they purchase, and where these items are reportedly coming from.

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By kmmatney on 7/25/2011 8:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt that Foxconn does this, but I've heard than some Chinese factories run a "Night Shift" to create the same product for home sale. They are usually made with inferior materials, and they cut whatever corners they can get away with, but it does come out of the same factory as real products. I know this happened for sure with tennis racquets.

By superstition on 7/25/2011 10:17:23 PM , Rating: 4
And those probably end up on Ebay.

Counterfeit badminton racquets are a bit deal there. One sucker I know spent $100 on a "Yonex" thinking he was getting a fantastic deal. A college degree didn't teach him that if something seems to good to be true...

Of course, our entire culture needs to learn that lesson. Our love for "cheap" products is sending our standard of living over to China and leaving us poorer and unemployed.

By Landiepete on 7/26/2011 1:33:21 AM , Rating: 2
Some big brands actually do this themselves. They are approache by big chains to produce a certain product at a bottom dolla price.
For instance, a company, let's call them 'Appliance Emporium', will ask an 'A' brand appliance manufacturer to supply 1000 refrigerators carrying said 'A' brand tag for as cheap as possible.

When you buy this refrigerator and something goes awry, you call the service desk, only to find out the company does not have the model number on the books and parts are not available.

Official counterfeiting, that.

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