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China: Fake Apple store discovery followed by copycat Ikea

First came the elaborate fake Apple store discovered in Kunming, China, and now there's the copycat Ikea, complete with a blue-and-yellow Swedish color scheme and minimalist wooden furniture.
China fake ikea 08 02 11Enlarge
Customers cycle past a real Ikea shop in Chengdu, China. On the heels of the discovery of fake Apple stores in China, a store with a close resemblance to Ikea has been found, also in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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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