What started out as a gag sale item on Ebay proved to be a lucrative business for Canadian Moses Lam.
His cans of Canadian air have found a growing market in China, a country plagued with high levels of air pollution. Now his company Vitality Air is struggling to meet a growing demand from the country’s elite who don’t mind paying for clean air.
“Our Chinese website keeps crashing. We are getting orders from all over the country, not just from the wealthier cities. When the air is bad, we see spikes in sales,” China Vitality Air representative Harrison Wang told Mashable.
The company has been exporting fresh Canadian air compressed in aluminum cans from Alberta’s Banff National Park to China since November 2014.
So far, the Chinese upper and middle class have purchased 12,000 bottles of air which cost between $20 and $32 per canister. Each can is expected to last for about 150 and 200 breaths.
The company is hoping to replicate its success in India where air pollution is also reaching dangerously high levels. “We expect India to be even bigger than China,” Vitality Air founder Moses Lam told Quartz. “We are test-marketing it right now.”
The Chinese smog pollution which kills nearly 4,000 people each day has resulted in a growing market with several other companies hoping to cash in on the country’s environmental tragedy.
Aethaer, founded by Hong Kong-based Brit Leo De Watts, began selling expensive glass jars of air from the UK for 80 British pounds ($113) per jar, while another firm called Paradise Air sells Tasmanian air for $70 per canister.