In every crisis, there is an opportunity, so says almost every successful Chinese entrepreneur.

Marketing-savvy Chinese government officials in Xi’an embraced the go-getting spirit to a whole new level by capitalising on the public’s desire for fresh air, through the sale of bottled air from a nearby nature reserve.

The new “air product” — “Qinling Forest Oxygen-rich Air” (秦岭森林富氧空气) purportedly bottles air from Qinling Pingheliang Nature Reserve (秦岭平河梁自然保护区), where 94% is forested land. The air is also said to contain “negative ions count per cubic centimetre above 30,000”, which supposedly have significant health benefits

Each bottle is sold for 18 RMB (aprrox $3.70), and is good for 50 breathes. Each bottle can last for around two minutes if the air is used continuously.

According to media reports quoting local forestry officials, the idea of selling air emerged after an experience with serious smog in Xi’an more than a year ago. The production line was built “after primary surveys and market study”, and it earns a profit of 3 RMB per bottle.

One report quoted a consumer in his 20s, who said:

“I bought one bottle earlier, the oxygen-rich air emanated from the bottle was very fresh, there’s a forest smell to it. My friends would like to try it after hearing from me, hence I came over to buy two bottles.”

Special funds earmarked for smog research

China will set up a special fund and hire top scientists to conduct research on smog in the country.

Premier Li Keqiang announced the move on Mar. 15 at the closing of the annual National People’s Conference (NPC). He had included smog research in his comprehensive environmental protection scheme which has been code named “Blue Sky Defence”.

Li said that China does not yet fully understand the exact causes of the smog disrupting life in north China during winter seasons. According to scientists he had spoken to, there were other significant causes to the country’s smog aside from burning coal, vehicle exhaust emissions and soil dust.

In this year’s annual meetings of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress – together known as the “two sessions”, smog and worsening air quality was one of the hottest topic amid rising public discontent.

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