Chinese authorities have closed two fake Apple stores in the country's southwestern Yunnan province, state media reported Monday, following a storm of publicity over the rip-off shops.

An investigation of 300 IT stores in the city of Kunming found five outlets using the Apple trademark without the US giant's permission, a local news site said in a report carried on the government's website.

Officials found two of the so-called Apple stores did not have a business licence and ordered them to stop operating pending the results of an inquiry, the report said.

The investigation into the fake stores was launched after an American blogger posted photos of a near-flawless copy of an Apple outlet showing employees wearing the company's trademark blue T-shirts.

While the shop looked like a genuine Apple store, a closer inspection revealed poorly painted walls and a shopfront sign saying "Apple Store" -- whereas the real deal just sports the now-famous fruit logo.

The Apple website lists four official stores in China -- two in Beijing and two in Shanghai, and none in Kunming.

China is home to the biggest counterfeit market in the world, and despite repeated government pledges to root out fake goods, these are still widely available throughout the country.

As the craze for all things Apple slowly spreads around China, fake iPhones and iPods have also emerged.