Canadian Startup is Selling Bottles of Clean Air to China

December 31, 2015 | Joanne Kennell

Polluted air in China
Photo credit: Global Panorama/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It is from a company that started off as a joke.

This is no joke.  As silly as this sounds, a Canadian start-up company based out of Edmonton, Alberta, is selling bottles of fresh air to residents of pollution-ridden China.

The company, Vitality Air, was founded last year and began selling to China about two months ago.  “Our first shipment of 500 bottles of fresh air were sold in four days,” co-founder Moses Lam said in a telephone interview with The Telegraph.  What you may find surprising is that  their next shipment, containing more than 4,000 bottles on its way to China, has already almost completely sold out.

The majority of Vitality Air’s customers are from large cities in northeastern and southern parts of China, where severe pollution warnings are common.  Pollution is so terrible that Beijing issued a red alert for pollution, forcing half of cars off the roads.

SEE ALSO: “Smog Free” Tower Inhales Pollution, Spits out Clean Air

It turns out Vitality Air is not the first company to sell fresh air to the Chinese.  Last year, Beijing artist Liang Kegang sold a glass jar filled with air from southern France for $800, and in 2013, multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao sold pop-sized cans of air from less industrialized areas of China for 40.80 each.  Vitality Air sells 7.7 liter cans for roughly $15, which is currently 50 times more expensive than a bottle of mineral water in China.

Lam started the company as a joke when Troy Paquette, also a co-founder, filled a plastic bag of air and sold it for just under $73 on eBay — a second bag sold for $155.  

Now, this may sound crazy to a lot of us, however fresh and clean air is something a lot of us take for granted.  Harrison Wang, the company’s China representative stated the following: “In China fresh air is a luxury, something so precious.”

Currently, Vitality Air’s biggest challenge is keeping up with the demand of their customers from China, India, the Middle East and parts of North America — since each bottle of fresh air is filled by hand.  “We may have bit off more than we can chew,” said Lam.

With there appearing to be no solution to China’s current air pollution problem, who knows what other absurd products will make their way to the market.

You might also like: Is Pollution Making Us Fat?

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