It looks like China isn’t the only one putting up convincing-looking fake Apple Stores — Afghanistan’s got one too. In fact, this is reportedly the only one in the country!
The unofficial Apple Store is located in Afghanistan’s largest mall, in the Share-e-Naw district of Kabul. While the Apple Stores located in the other parts of the world are usually extremely large and extravagant-looking, the “Apple Store Afghanistan” is quite the opposite. As you can see from the photo above, the store is pretty simple and small. Oh, and it’s also got employees lounging around — I don’t think I’ve seen an Apple Store employee so relaxed.
According to Mohammed Nasery, who is the store’s sales manager, the store sells five to six iPhones and one or two laptops every day. As for prices in the store, the 16GB iPhone 5 goes for around $700, which is only about $50 more than in the US. They purchases the units from Dubai for around $710, and when taking into account the discount for buying in bulk, the margins of products sold in Apple Store Afghanistan range from $10 to $50. But since they’re selling these things at a pretty good rate, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Actually, Esmatullah Rahimi, who is a former employee of the store, says that there is plenty of demand for Apple products.
“It’s very trendy to own an iPhone or an iPad. These young Afghans work around foreigners who have iPods and Macs and iPads, and they want them too. If you see a woman using an iPhone, even if she’s wearing the hijab you know she’s got money and that she wants people to notice her. You don’t really look twice if she’s on a Nokia, you know?”
But perhaps the most interesting thing about this story is the fact that Apple might not care that this knock-off store exists. According to Nasery, he actually took photos of the store then sent them to Apple. They never replied. Which is quite surprising since they went out of their way to close all the fake Apple Stores around China, although that might have something to do with the fact that the company doesn’t really have an official presence in Afghanistan.
So for now, it looks like the lone Apple Store Afghanistan is here to stay. Oh, and Rahimi, Nokia would like to have a word with you.