Fresh Bottled Mountain Air Sells Out In China: Joke-In-A-Bottle Goes Viral
soup of smog on Tuesday and reflects local frustrations with the caption: “Heavy smog hit China, again!”
This comes just over a week after Beijing issued a red alert for pollutionthat forced half of the cars off the roads.
The Canadian company is not the first to sell fresh air to the Chinese.
Last year, Beijing artist Liang Kegang fetched the equivalent of £512 for a glass jar filled with air taken from a business trip in southern France.
Photo: Didi Tang/AP
In 2013, multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao sold pop-sized cans of air purportedly taken from less industrialised regions of China for 5 yuan (£0.50) each.
Vitality Air’s Mr Lam admits that he started out the company as a joke as well when he and co-founder Troy Paquette filled a plastic bag of air and sold it for less than 50 pence on the auction site Ebay.
A second bag sold for $160 (£105).
“That’s when we realised there is a market for this,” says Mr Lam.
Vitality Air sells bottled fresh air and oxygen across North America, to India and the Middle East. But China remains its biggest overseas market.
The company's China representative, Harrison Wang, says their customers are mainly affluent Chinese women who buy for their families or give away as gifts. But he says senior homes and even high end night clubs have also stocked up on their product.
“In China fresh air is a luxury, something so precious,” says Mr Wang.
He says a number of distributors have contacted them to sell their products.
Vitality Air’s biggest challenge is to keep up with demand because each bottle of fresh air is filled by hand.
“It’s very labour intensive but we also wanted to make it a very unique and fun product,” says co-founder Mr Lam.
“We may have bit off more than we can chew.”
The growing orders have been a pleasant surprise for him since his friends and family initially mocked the idea of selling something that most Canadians take for granted.
“My parents told me not to quit my day time job,” he says.
So far, Mr Lam has heeded this advice and still holds a bank job in Canada.
By Jennifer Pak, Shenzhen