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.
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.
“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.