John Dickinson and Theo Ruygrok are the co-founders of Green and Clean Air, a business based in Australia that puts fresh air in cans and sells it at $18.80 a pop.
They came up with the idea one year ago, after Theo looked at the sky and mused about the difference in air quality when he arrived home from China to Australia.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we can take a bit of this air over to China?” he asked John.
Each can below contains the equivalent of 130 deep breaths, with the cap doubling as a mouthpiece.
The pair have started exporting cans to China, while personal shoppers for wealthy Chinese people are also shipping Australian air overseas.
“We all love the pure air from Australia,” Chinese personal shopper Vivian Zhou tells Seven News.”I buy the air from Australia for my clients and I post it back to them.”
John says the cans had been intended as a novelty souvenir item to give tourists the chance to “take a bit of Australia home with them”, but that Chinese buyers had seized on the health aspects.
He says China’s emerging middle class is becoming more worried about the country’s poor air quality. “There is real interest in having some clean air from places they trust.”
Research has found that China’s poor air quality contributes to the deaths of more than 1.6 million people there each year – that’s more than the population of Adelaide.
Inner-city pollution is so bad that a Beijing traffic cop is lucky to make to the age of 43, because of constant exposure to car exhaust and dirty air.
At the end of 2015, Canadian Moses Lam also started selling bottled air to China as a joke, and has now turned Vanity Air into a successful business.
“We wanted to do something fun and disruptive so we decided to see if we could sell air,” Moses tells CNN.
The first bag was bought on eBay for $US0.99 ($AU1.37) and a second bag sold for $US160 ($AU221).
The Edmonton resident soon realised there was a market for the air and began hand bottling air in canisters in Canada’s Rocky Mountains every couple of weeks. Bottles are left for 10 hours in the pristine environment and Moses said demand was so high they couldn’t keep up.