A Chinese millionaire is reportedly trying to capitalise on his country's worsening air pollution problem by selling canned fresh air.
According to reports published in Business Insider, Chen Guangbiao, an entrepreneur worth $740 million has started selling cans of fresh air for people to crack open and suck in.
Rapid industrialisation has covered northern China in a dense soup of toxic chemicals.
The concentration of airborne PM 2.5 particulates — the smallest and most deadly — went off the chart for the second time this month, according to pollution gauge at the American Embassy in Beijing.
Guangbiao believed to be one of China's richest individuals, has begun selling "fresh air in soft drink cans" for about 5 Chinese Yuan ($0.80) a pop under his registered trademark “Good Person Chen Guangbiao.”
He said he would donate 0.10 yuan to charity for every can sold.
According to one report, they come with atmospheric flavours including “pristine Tibet, post-industrial Taiwan and revolutionary Yan'an.”
According to the BBC, Beijing has reported air quality readings that show pollutants present at 20 times the recommended limits; visibility has been reduced and residents have been advised to stay indoors.
NASA satellite photos show a thick grey haze that has led to the densely populated plains of North China becoming invisible from outer space.
In an interview last year, 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.
According to Chen, "Open the can and three deep breaths will allow you to have a good mood and a clear mind."
However, the move has met with critcism and sacrcasm online with a number of blogs questioning Chen's right to sell air that doesn't belong to him.
And if sending the proceeds to charity wasn't enough to convince people to buy his canned air, a Chinese website reports Chen also told users to hold on to the empty cans, as he will buy them back in 10 years for about $7 each.
Chen is known for his charitable publicity stunts, including handing out earthquake victims 100 yuan bills and taking out a full page add in the New York Times that equated Japan's territorial claim to the Senkaku Islands (known as Diaoyu in China) with Japan claiming Hawaii.