China-based Elephone isn’t known for making any high-end hardware, and besides being yet another maker of really cheap Chinese phones, they aren’t known for much of anything at all. But that might change soon, as the company is purportedly preparing to launch a smartwatch running Google’s Android Wear. And while that alone might not be all too exciting (other Chinese OEMs like Huawei have beaten them to the punch), this could — knowing Elephone’s target market — be part of Google’s bigger plan to make a move back into mainland China…

The above image, which as far as we can tell first appeared on Chinese rumor site Gadgetz.tv, clearly draws inspiration from a couple other Android Wear devices on the market. My first impression is that this thing is a Huawei Watch knock off, but it’s angled button on the right side is similarly placed on the 2nd generation Moto 360 as well. Also, the Apple Watch — Milanese Loop anyone?

According to the sketchy Chinese publication that the above image originated from, the watch will have “exquisite workmanship” doing without the “flat tire” of the Moto 360, as well as a heart rate sensor much like other Android Wear offerings. It will also be “highly cost effective,” which comes at very little surprise considering Elephone’s other offerings are definitely on the cheap low end.

What’s interesting here is that this watch may just be one piece of Google’s plan to reenter mainland China. A recent report from The Information claimed that the Mountain View company is planning to launch a Chinese version of the Play Store there, as well as introduce officially-supported Android Wear devices. Maybe this is one of those devices, set to get several Chinese-made apps and a Mandarin voice assistant?

Either way, assuming these rumors are true, this is going to be another Android Wear device to add to the lineup. It will be an entry launched with a design similar to the high-end Moto 360 and Huawei Watch, but with a price likely closer to the lower-end ASUS ZenWatch. That seems like a pretty good formula for an Android Wear smartwatch built for the same Chinese customer that would buy an Elephone. We’ll see.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.