Chinese come up with fake Apple Watch in double-quick time

Are you wowed by the Apple Watch? Can’t wait another month to get your hands on one? Worry not, a Chinese counterfeit version can be yours within days – and at a fraction of the price.

Days after the Apple Watch’s official unveiling in California on Monday, Chinese e-commerce sites including Alibaba’s Taobao are already selling suspiciously similar smart time pieces, which sport the device’s distinctive “digital crown”, and appear to run Apple software.

Such watches, which include the AW08 and the iwatch, offer proof, if any was still needed, of the ability Chinese manufacturers have in producing high-quality fake versions of new tech at short notice.

The AW08 is on sale for as little as 240 yuan (Dh140), nearly 90 per cent lower than the real Apple Watch’s $350 entry level price.

And while Apple’s new timepiece will work only when used alongside an iPhone, models like the AW08 and iwatch also appear to work just fine with Android smartphones.

Asked whether it had taken action against any sellers, according to the Associated Press, Alibaba said in a statement: “Alibaba Group is dedicated to the fight against counterfeits. We work closely with our government partners, brands and industry associations to tackle this issue at its source. We also utilise technology like data mining and big data to scrub our platforms of counterfeits.”

The (non-counterfeit) Apple Watch will officially go on sale in the US, UK, Canada France, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany and Australia on April 24. Prices range from $350 for the entry level sports model, climbing to $17,000 for an 18-carat gold version.

Although a Dubai-based Apple spokeswoman said there was no information about a UAE launch date, the watch is expected to be available on the grey market in the country within days of the April launch.

Last September local retailers began offering Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus mere days after the devices were launched in the US, in some cases charging more than double the recommended retail price for early adopters.

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John Everington

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