In another attempt to cope with rampant air pollution, the Chinese in polluted areas buy bottles of fresh air from Canadians. No, it is not a joke. The business is real, and the start-up that came up with the idea said that it had shipped more than 4,000 cans of oxygen to China and was still struggling to meet demand.
The Canadian start-up, Vitality Air, said that it realized there was a market for the unusual product a couple of years ago, when it sold a bag of fresh air for $160 as a gag gift on eBay. At that moment, the company’s founder Moses Lam realized that people living in highly polluted regions may really want this.
The bulk of orders came from eastern China, which is renown for its rampant air pollution. The country’s capital Beijing is by far one of the worst places to breathe or raise kids in in the entire China.
This may be why, Chinese buyers are happily paying $22.95 for bottles with 10 liters of oxygen bottled in the Rocky Mountains. According to the manufacturer, one bottle guarantees 200 inhalations. Or there is an option to buy 7.7 liters of bottled oxygen from Lake Louise, an area near a Canadian national park, for the same amount of money.
Buyers have two other possibilities when making their purchase. They can either choose the ‘pure premium oxygen’ version, which reportedly is made of 97 percent pure oxygen or the ‘fresh clean air’ version, which is made of nearly 80 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen.
The second version comes in two bottles – those with fresh air from the Banff National Park area, in Canada, or cans of air from Lake Louise, which are more expensive. The start-up markets the products as solutions to pollution or various conditions including hangovers.
The bottled air is also touted as an aid for students who are prepping for exams or those in training. Nevertheless, the company said that it cannot be used to cure or treat any medical conditions or disorders.
But China is not the only buyer. There are shipments to customers in the Middle East, India and even the U.S.A. But when they first started to ship the cans of air to China in October, Canadian businessmen found that the country quickly became the largest foreign market.
Lam recalls that the first shipment to China sold out in four days. He added that 4,000 more products are now on their way to Chinese customers and most of the bottles have already been bought. But meeting demand is a challenging task since every can of fresh air is made by hand.
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