Fake Apple Watches proliferate in China’s online marketplace

17 Mar

China’s counterfeiters have a leg up on Apple this time: they have flooded China’s online shopping sites with fake Apple Watches a month before the real product hits the market.

One vendor on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s popular Taobao e-commerce Web site advertised an “Apple Smart Watch with Bluetooth Bracelet,” according to the Associated Press (AP). Photographs on the vendor’s page show what appears to be an authentic Apple Watch. The phony Apple Watch is available from that vendor for as little as 288 yuan (US$45), or one-eighth the US$349 price of the cheapest Apple Watch.

Eight Taobao vendors advertised smartwatches as “Apple Watch” or “Apple Watch lookalike,” but they all failed to respond to questions sent to their Taobao accounts, the AP reported.

In regards to action it has taken against its sellers of counterfeit goods, 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 utilize technology like data mining and big data to scrub our platforms of counterfeits.”

Meanwhile, Apple, says buyers in China and Hong Kong can pre-order a real Apple Watch beginning on April 10, the same day the device will become available for pre-order in the US, Japan, Britain, France and Germany.

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