July 26, 2011 --
If you were to step into this Apple store in Kunming, China, you'd probably find what you'd expect to see at any other similar outlet around the world: a collection of iPhones, iPads, iPods and matching accessories.
What makes this particular shopping experience unique? It's not an Apple store at all; it's a knock-off. A couple of other Apple imitators have been spotted in other areas of China.
The store has become symbolic of how pervasive piracy and copyright infringement is in China. According to a report (PDF) released by the U.S. International Trade Commission, intellectual property infringements conducted by businesses in China resulted in the loss of $48.2 billion in "sales, royalties and licensing fees" for U.S. companies -- and 2.1 million U.S. jobs.
And it's not just Chinese citizens buying counterfeit goods. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a total of $124 million worth of counterfeit goods was seized in 2010, two-thirds of which came from China.