Vitality Air, a Canadian company, is bottling fresh air from the Rocky Mountains and selling it in China, where pollution levels have hit all-time highs.
“Our first shipment of 500 bottles of fresh air were sold in four days,” Vitality Air co-founder Moses Lam told The Telegraph.
Another shipment of 4,000 bottles is on its way to China, but most of it has been pre-sold, according to Lam.
One 7.7-liter can of clean air sells for about $15 in China, where the smog can be 50 times worse than the country's health guidelines recommend.
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Most of the Chinese people buying air live in larger cities, where warnings about severe pollution are common.
Lam started the company as a joke with co-founder Troy Maquette when they sold plastic bags of air on Ebay, but after they sold a bag for $160, a light went off.
“That’s when we realized there is a market for this,” Lam said.
Vitality Air now markets fresh air to India, the Middle East and China, their biggest market, in addition to North America.
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“My parents told me not to quit my day-time job,” Lam said.
Lam added that it's been difficult to keep up with the demand in China, but he has not yet quit his job at a local bank.
"It's been a pretty wild ride for us as we only started to market the product a month and a half ago," Harrison Wang, Vitality Air's China rep, told the Daily Mail. "We got the website up and running, then put Vitality Air on Taobao – a Chinese website similar to eBay for online shopping – and we sold out almost instantly."
"We have sold everything, and we now have a bunch of customers and a people wanting to be our distributors," he added.