CHINA TOPIX

Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Can't Wait? Apple Watch Knockoffs Now On Sale

apple-watch

(Photo : Reuters) Can the second-generation save the first generations mistakes?

Fake Apple watches are now on sale in China, a month before the original gadgets officially hit stores. 

Apple Watch will be on sale beginning April 24.  But for those who can't wait, knockoffs are now being sold at  Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei electronics market for as low as $40.

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China has been known to be the counterfeiting capital of the world.  The rate and speed at which manufacturers come out with fake versions have proven to be astounding. 

"These guys are specialists," said Laurent Le Pen, founder and CEO of Shenzhen-based smartwatch maker Omate.

"The speed at which they can bring copies on the market is amazing," Le Pen added. 

The knockoffs are sold under several names, such as "Ai Watch" and "D-Watch".  It runs on an Android operating system within an Apple's well-known interface.  It has icons and text that resembles the original.

The real Apple watch comes with a hefty price tag of $349 with the premium edition reaching $10,000 or more.  But for those who are just after the look, a $40 to $80 fake version would suffice. 

"The hardware is not the big challenge - the hard part is on the software and the application side," Le Pen said. "In the end, you sometimes need to be an expert to tell the difference between real and fake."

The initial batch of fake Apple Watches is expected to be of low quality.  But Le Pen said once the original ones hit the shelves, the quality would improve. 

Apple had taken the top spot in list of most popular luxury brands among Chinese consumers, beating other brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton or Hermes.

According to Hurun Research Institute's annual survey of China's wealthiest, Apple emerged to be this year's most coveted luxury brand, making it the best brand of gift giving to men and women. 

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