China’s Booming Bottled Air Market: When Pollution Provides A Business Opportunity


Selling air seems like such an absurd concept, but numerous companies the world over have managed either deliberately or mistakenly to cash in on a booming bottled air market.

Demand for bottled air in countries like China makes for a lucrative market that matches the sale from other generally accepted high demand items.

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One of the entrepreneurs who has been able to cash in on the bottled air market on a whim after he started selling bags of air from Canada on eBay as a joke is Moses Lam who was formerly an overworked mortgage broker.

His company, Vitality Air is now scrambling to keep up with demands from China. Harrison Wang who is the Chinese representative for Vitality Air told Mashable that; “Our Chinese website keeps crashing. We are getting orders from all over the country, not just from the wealthier cities. When the air is bad, we see spikes in sales”.

China is one country with a very serious pollution problem. Last week Thursday, the World Health Organization released its newest study which found the levels of pollution in China to be well above safety levels.

Dr. Maria Neira, director of WHO’s Department of Public Health, commenting on the recent study said; “Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health, at the same time, awareness is rising and more cities are monitoring their air quality. When air quality improves, global respiratory and cardiovascular-related illnesses decrease.”

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A growing upper and middle class group in China are willing to spend on the finer things in life and bottled air qualifies as just that. Also, the air is not cheap. Vitality Air charges between $20 and $32 for a canister that lasts between 150 and 200 breaths.

A British man in Hong Kong started Aethaer, which sells glass jars of air from the UK at a steep £80 plus £12 flat shipping fee and on their website, they lay the consideration for how long the air lasts squarely on the breathing technique. These examples show that as much as critical levels of pollution is an emerging health crisis, it is also a viable market opportunity.

It’s a sad day when pollution has gotten so bad that air begins to be sold as a luxury item but no one can knock the ingenuity of the entrepreneurs cashing in, they are still after all providing the consumers with what they need.