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Air business: Pollution-hit Chinese buying expensive British air

The company which started out bottling fresh air has seen its product fly off the shelves in pollution-hit China.

By: PTI | Beijing | Published: February 8, 2016 8:41:43 pm
beijing, pollution hit beijing, cool air bottles, cool air bottle in china, fresh air bottle in china, british air in bottle, British businessman is cashing on Beijing being issued second ever pollution red alert by selling jars of British fresh air to the Chinese for £80. (Source: Reuters)

An enterprising young British businessman has found a way to mint money by selling bottles of “cool” British country air to monied Chinese in pollution- hit cities.

Leo De Watts, 27, has made thousands of dollars selling bottles of British country air to Chinese buyers at 80 pounds (USD 115) per bottle. De Watts says the 580 ml glass jars have been flying out the door, many headed for pollution-plagued Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Since launching late last year, his air farming company Aethaer has sold hundreds of containers of clean breeze from windswept locations across Britain — including Dorset, Somerset, and Wales, CNN reported.

Setting off with a car full of empty jars at 5 am, the team “harvests” air in large nets and seals it in the glass jars before shipping it across the world.

“We have clients who request very particular circumstances for their air,” De Watts says.

“Sometimes we’ll be at the top of a mountain, other times the bottom of a valley,” he explains in a video on the company’s website.

Once opened, a jar of pure British air might last just a ew seconds, the report said, adding that many customers are purchasing it more as a novelty that will remain unopened. De Watts now lives in Hong Kong where he can be found selling his bottles of fresh air at local street markets.

In December, Beijing issued its first ever red alert due to poor air quality, closing schools and restricting traffic. Hoping to cash in on Chinese New Year festivities, the company is now promoting a 15-jar gift set for — take a deep breath — the discounted cost of 888 pounds (USD 1,200).

Funnily enough, for those dismissing the unusual business model as just a bunch of hot air, it is in fact Britain’s “cool air” which gives buyers the most bang for their buck. “The colder air means we can fit more in the container,” he said. “When it’s warmer, we can’t fit quite as much in,” he added.

Aethaer follows in the footsteps of the Canadian company Vitality Air, which recently started selling canisters of fresh air from the Rocky Mountains to Chinese buyers. Though at between USD 14 and USD 20 per canister, Canadian air seemingly costs a fraction of British breeze.

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