Less than 24 hours after Apple formally unveiled its new Apple Watch, knockoff versions have already been sighted at electronic markets in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
According to CNN Money, the fakes were found at the Huaqiangbei electronics market in Shenzhen, with others being sold nationwide via e-commerce websites such as Taobao. Those at the market mimic the design and style of Apple’s new offering, selling for between 250 yuan and 500 yuan, but online it is possible to find models selling at various different price points.
The watches, given names such as D-Watch and Ai Watch, appear to sport icons similar to the ones on the home screen of the Apple Watch, but are in fact running a modified version of the Android operating system. Laurent Le Pen, founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based smartwatch maker Omate, told CNN: “These guys are specialists. The speed at which they can bring copies to the market is amazing.”
It is unlikely that the Chinese consumer will be fooled by the watches, given that the cheapest sports model will sell for 2,588 yuan ($410), which compares unfavorably with the US price of $349. At the high end, the most expensive watch will retail in China for 126,800 yuan ($20,240), much more costly than its US counterpart which retails for $17,000.
Even though the Chinese are absolutely crazy about Apple, it remains to be seen whether or not the Apple Watch will be a hit. In comments made to Customs Today, Huang Hongwen, a freelancer from Shanghai says: “It’s almost impossible to send WeChat messages when staring at such a small screen. I’d rather buy a traditional luxury watch at the same price.”
Apple was recently at the center of controversy after a BBC documentary revealed the abysmal working conditions endured by Chinese laborers working for the company at factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.
By Dominic Jackson