Meizu is planning to launch its M8 smartphone in various markets around the world before Christmas.

The Chinese-made touchscreen handset bears a striking resemblance to the iPhone.

Quite what Apple’s response will be is uncertain.

So far, the US company hasn’t acted against perceived copyright violations in China.

It has, however, frequently filed lawsuits and tried to prevent sales of companies with imitative designs in countries with stricter copyright laws.

Meizu is now saying it will launch its device in China before the end of the month before rolling it out to India and then Europe, Hong Kong and the US, possibly by Christmas.

According to Meizu CEO, J.Wong, the company is waiting for a license for the phone from the Chinese government but will release a test version to users there even if the license isn’t issued by the end of the month.

The M8 is based on a heavily modified Windows Mobile interface with numerous references to Apple’s cellphone, including a Safari-like web browser front end, an iPod-like media player and a similar overall look.

Where it differs is the three-megapixel camera and FM radio at the expense of 3G data, using EDGE instead when away from Wi-Fi.

Prices for the M8 have been reported as USD $348 for an 8GB version without subsidies and USD $421 for a 16GB model.

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