They look like an Apple Watch they even have the same watch bands and similar digital crown dials on the side, but there is one big difference these smartwatches are being flogged for $40 on Alibaba’s Taobao site.
The watches that mirror the look of the Apple Watch’s also have an identical user interface graphics to Apple’s new smartwatch.
The giveaway is when you boot the device and discover that the OS is Google Android Wear.
Other giveaways that the watches are not the iPhone’s official “companion” include:
They are being offered for about 250 yuan $40 a fraction of the 2,588 yuan that Apple will charge for its smartwatch in China when it goes on sale next month.
The real one on the left and the fake one on the right.
Also missing is the heart-monitoring sensors on their rear – although this is not made clear in the marketing for the device.
The one thing that they do have over the Apple Watch is that they deliver longer battery life.
One listing, which was found by the Financial Times, even used the slogan: “Knockoff Apple watches have hit the market!”
Taobao’s owner said it did, however, remove deceptive ads.
“Alibaba Group is dedicated to the fight against counterfeits,” a spokeswoman for the company said.
“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 Apple Watch’s user interface, seen on the left, appears to have been directly copied by the AW08, pictured on the right
One Beijing-based expert – who has not seen any of the copycat watches in person – said there could be considerable demand for the gadgets now that they were being advertised online.
“Apple products are very popular in China, and it’s possible that Chinese consumers will want to be seen to be the first person on their block to wear its Watch,” said Matthew Forney, president of the business consultancy Fathom China.
“However, I think most of those consumers are aware that there has been an issue with fakes and copycats on Taobao and would be highly suspicious of the devices.
“And most people who buy them will do so knowing they are not Apple’s real Watch.”
This listing for the AW08 Watch suggests it will work with both Xiaomi’s Android handsets as well as Apple’s iPhones.