Chinese fake goods manufacturers seem to be far more efficient than Apple. The Cupertino company first showcased its Apple Watch in September last year, and held a special event six months later on March 9 to provide more details about its wearable device. Interested customers will still have to wait for more than a month to get Apple Watch as it will be available for sale on April 24.
Counterfeits mimic almost every aspect of Apple Watch
Meanwhile, knockoff versions of Apple Watch are already available for sale in Chinese city of Shenzhen, reports Charles Riley of CNN Money. You can also buy Apple Watch clones on e-commerce websites such as Taobao and Tmall. The counterfeit devices mimic the style and design of Apple’s product right down to the digital crown.
‘Ai Watch,’ available on Taobao, costs just 258 yuan ($40). Another clone, ‘D-Watch,’ is selling for 298 yuan. Prices of other fakes range between 250 and 500 yuan. In contrast, the most affordable Apple Watch has been priced at $349, and goes up to $17,000 for the luxury gold edition. Most of the fakes run tweaked Android that looks like an Apple user interface.
But consumers are unlikely to mistake the fakes for the real Apple Watch, says Riley. The sale of counterfeit Apple Watch highlights the amazing speed at which Chinese counterfeiters can bring clones to the market. Laurent Le Pen, CEO of smartwatch company Omate, said the fake product manufacturers were “specialists.”
Apple Watch buyers likely to purchase is straight from the source
Le Pen said the first few clones will merely be “rough imitations,” but counterfeiters hone their skills to get closer to the real device. Omate is fighting its own battle against counterfeiters. Le Pen told CNN that hardware is never a problem for them. The shanzhai (counterfeiters) face difficulties only on the software and application side.
Alibaba, which owns Taobao and Tmall, has stepped up fight against fake goods. But even when the e-commerce company removes fake listings, new sellers quickly replace them. Anyway, in Apple’s case, buyers are more likely to buy Apple Watch straight from its website or authorized stores rather than from e-commerce platforms that are flooded with fakes.