Bottled air breeds hot air in smoggy China
BEIJING. Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's smog has made masks and air purifiers the hottest ofcommodities. Now, a new product is getting all the attention: bottled air.
BBC screenshots of a woman breathing air from a can went viral on the Internet this week, withthe broadcasting corp reporting that many Chinese residents are beginning to buy cans of fresh airfrom Canada.
The products come in different volumes. A bottle that contains 150 breaths costs about 120 yuan(18.5 U.S. dollars). The air comes from the Rocky Mountains, which boasts the purest air andcontains "natural energy", according to the company's official website.
On Tuesday, forty cities in north China, including Beijing and Tianjin, issued alerts for air pollution.Hebei Province and the port city of Tianjin issued their first red alerts, joining neighboring Beijing inthe red zone.
Moses Lam and Troy Paquette, owners of the company that sells fresh air, Vitality Air, initiallywanted to sell fresh Canadian air to Americans, but decided to bring their products to China abouttwo months ago after hearing about the pollution.
"We did a promotion on Alibaba's Tmall on China's Singles' Day on Nov. 11," said Catherine Qi,Vitality Air's marketing director. "Because our concept is new and Beijing was blanketed in acridsmog, our product caught market attention quickly."
The air is sold mainly in the smog hot-spots of north and northeast China, as well as in some high-end clubs and international schools, she said.
The first batch, only 500 bottles - has sold out, and the company has received orders for 4,000more, Qi added.
The story fueled a wave of heated discussion, with some calling the phenomenon "interesting".
In Beijing, where PM2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers used to measure air quality) soaredto 330 micrograms per cubic meter on Tuesday, people can understand why the commodity is indemand, but many are embarrassed by their living environment.
Some feel the product is a mere marketing gimmick, describing the products as a foreignmockery of China's environmental problems.(English.news.cn )