Chinese Millionaire Chen Guangbiao Reportedly Selling Air in a Can as Pollution Hits Record Levels

Beijing residents wearing masks walk through fog as severe pollution continues to affect the capital on January 29, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo: Getty Images)

With record levels of pollution in China, the smog so thick in some areas you can only see for 100 yards according to local media, one entrepreneurial millionaire reportedly has a solution: fresh air in a can.

The U.K.’s Telegraph writes of Chen Guangbiao’s alleged creation:

They go for 5 yuan each and, according to one report, they come with atmospheric flavours including “pristine Tibet, post-industrial Taiwan and revolutionary Yan’an.” Presumably the “pristine Tibet” can smells ever so slightly of gunpowder.

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The cans of air are partly being sold as a way of promoting environmentalism, although no one has pointed out that the manufacture and disposal of all the cans used in the process will, itself, contribute towards China’s pollution. But Chen also seems deadly serious about the profitability of selling cans of basically nothing to his countrymen. In an interview last year, he explained the process for canning the air thus:

Chen said the air is put into pull-tag cans he invented, with a chip in each can. The air is not compressed – he said his staff need only swing their hands three times to push the air into the can. When there is enough air, the chip will make the cap close automatically.

So, in short, some bloke stands on a mountain, waves a can about, takes it to market and sells it for money. And aside from fooling the buyer in to thinking that they’re helping to keep China clean, what are the benefits? According to Chen, “Open the can and three deep breaths will allow you to have a good mood and a clear mind.”  [Emphasis added]

Chen told China’s Global Times Monday that his innovation is steadily taking off: “”We’ve sold 1,000 cans in Tongzhou district today, earning about 5,000 yuan ($792).”

“If we don’t start caring for the environment, then after 20 or 30 years our children and grandchildren might be wearing gas masks and carry oxygen tanks,” Chen added for the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to Fox News, the entrepreneur’s wealth has been valued at $740 million, and he is known for staging publicity stunts.

Check out the GeoBeats report– which also features a picture of the cans– via the Huffington Post:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

​Featured image via The Atlantic.