The stores, and there were three of them, with one of them even having a sign that misspelled Store in Apple Store as "Stoer," were in what might be called a backwater part of China, Kunming in southwestern China. They were discovered by expat Americans, and although they went through a great deal of effort to duplicate Apple retail stores, right down to a winding staircase, blue employee t-shirts and official looking name tags, it was obvious they were fake.
For one thing, Apple has only four stores in China. Two are in Beijing, and two are in Shanghai, and that information is readily available on Apple's site.
At the same time, Apple does have authorized resellers, but these stores are not among them. The employee, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said “It doesn’t make much of a difference for us whether we’re authorized or not. I just care that what I sell every day are authentic Apple products, and that our customers don’t come back to me to complain about the quality of the products. I think in Yunnan, our store should be one of the best in terms of scale and the level of professionalism."
At least the employee said that the products at the "stores" are authentic. It was unclear from the earlier report if they were. Of course, that's assuming he's being truthful.
It's still unclear how the stores source their products, however. It's not unheard of for scalpers to buy products at actual Apple stores and sell them for a premium.
So far there's no "official" reaction from Apple. Since the stores have been skirting the rules until now, it's unclear if Apple would let them into their authorized resellers program, but the stores could in fact apply, if they wanted.