A breath of fresh air: Firm cashes in on smog

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG ZHUOQIONG in Beijing wangzhuo­qiong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Santa’s gift bag full of air is no longer a joke, as a Cana­dian com­pany that sells crisp, canned air from the Rocky Moun­tains has cashed in on China’s air pol­lu­tion.

Just two months af­ter ar­riv­ing in China, Vi­tal­ity Air’s first 500 can­is­ters were sold out. The next pre­ordered 4,000 can­is­ters are ex­pected to be de­liv­ered to the coun­try in two weeks, said Cather­ine Qi, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of Vi­tal­ity Air China.

Vi­tal­ity Air said its prod­ucts are sold pri­mar­ily to high-end clubs, night­clubs and in­ter­na­tional schools in China.

The air is har­vested from the Rocky Moun­tains and is avail­able in two va­ri­eties — Banff and Lake Louise. The price is 129 yuan ($19.95) per can­is­ter, Qi told China Daily.

“Our prod­ucts sell not only in China, but also other places in­clud­ing In­dia,” she said.

The prod­uct orig­i­nated with a prac­ti­cal joke in which Vi­tal­ity Air founder Moses Lam put a plas­tic bag of fresh air on eBay with a price tag of 99 US cents.

It sold quickly. The next bag of fresh air was auc­tioned at $168 and also was sold. Then Lam re­al­ized the de­mand for qual­ity, con­ve­nient and fresh air by peo­ple who have stayed in­doors for a long time.

Each can­is­ter of 7.7 liters will sup­ply 150 doses. The prod­uct is avail­able at Taobao, an on­line mar­ket­place run by Alibaba Group Hold­ing, and at Vi­tal­ity Air’s web­site, said Qi.

Zhang Naxin, a res­pi­ra­tory physi­cian in Tian­jin, told Daily News that 150 doses of Cana­dian air won’t make much of a dif­fer­ence.

“A per­son breathes 20 times on av­er­age per minute, and one bot­tle would last for less than eight min­utes.”

Tina Wang, a man­ager at a lo­gis­tics com­pany in China, said she was in­trigued by the prod­uct.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

In this TV screen grab from BBC, Beijing res­i­dent Li Tian­qin tries to get her son re­freshed with a can­is­ter of Vi­tal­ity Air’s fresh air.

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