In various malls around China, fake versions of the Apple Watch are now on sale at hundreds of stalls, with many Chinese consumers keen to grab one for a fraction of the cost of the original.
Fake Apple Watch looks like the real thing
“It came on sale in mid-March and has been constantly out of stock”, said on of the Apple Watch sellers. “On average we sell around 40 a day. Some customers just came and bought five or more at a time”.
The copied versions of the Apple Watch are in fact built on Android, and don’t need a separate smartphone in order to work. Many of them retail for around $58 – much cheaper than Apple’s cheapest model, the Apple Watch Sport that costs $349. Some versions of the fake watch can even take a SIM card, can make calls and send messages, browse the Internet and take pictures.
Last Friday, Apple – the world’s most valuable company (not only the world’s most valuable tech company), started its pre-order sales of its new wrist-worn wearable, as well as in-store hands-on previews for those who made an appointment. It’s the first new product line the company has made since former CEO Steve Jobs died in 2011, and will be on sale ‘properly’ from April 24th.
Apple Stores quiet on launch day
In Hong Kong and other launch venues, the Apple Stores were no more busy than usual – no lines down the street as is often the case for new product launches. However, that’s because it was made clear beforehand that it would not be possible to pick one up in the store, and that online ordering was the only way to get one. At the flagship Hong Kong store, most of the shoppers were from mainland China, who often just pop across the border to pick up the latest gadgets – but on Friday many were there to pick up other Apple products.
“I’m here to buy an iPad”, said a shopper from of Chongqing. “I will take a look at the Watch later … none of my friends have talked about the Watch back home”.
But those gadget stalls in Shenzen were as busy as normal, as the merchants showed off the fake smartwatches in different styles and colours. Many people are not impressed by the imitation devices however. “I really want to buy the original one,” said Vikram Jan, an Indian businessman from New Delhi shopping in Shenzhen. “The fake one is really bad.”
Of course, the fake ones might look like an Apple Watch from afar, but they won’t have any impact on the genuine watch sales, and they can’t actually do any of the things that the real model can.
“You know some want the real thing and some just want to go for the cheaper option,” said a woman selling knock-off watches. “There are all kinds of customers and people who want the cheaper one would still buy our product.”
It’s probably only a matter of time before fake Apple Watches are available in electronics stores across Thailand. Would you buy one, or is the original the only way to go?