If you want to buy electronics in China, keep in mind the 17% VAT that makes it almost more expensive to buy in the mainland then in the USA. This is true of the Apple store, which is located in the heart of Sanlitun Village, which in turn is in the heart of the expat community.
The Apple store runs promotions from time to time, like the 4G iphone, which resulted in a line of buyers stretching around the Village and congesting the entire area. More recently the new iPad made waves when two people got in a fight that caused the store to have to respond with security. Lines for the iPad stretched around the corner as well.
There are multiple fake Apple stores, and many fake or lower quality products on the market. You’ll find fakes in Haidian and on Chaoyang North Road. Be aware that unless you buy Apple products at an Apple store then you are taking the risk of purchasing a fake– and that simply isn’t worth the savings.
One of the easiest ways to tell if you are about to purchase a fake is to look at the markings on the back of the device you are about to buy. Whether a camera lens, laptop, phone or media device, the codes and stamps on the bottom will give you some idea about the origin of the product. Products for the Japanese market are usually high end while products for Malaysia and China are somewhat lower in quality. This goes for electronics, but for basically anything on the market, including cars.