Many Beijing residents go to great lengths to avoid breathing the city’s smoggy air, especially when it reaches critical pollution levels, but one local entrepreneur decided that canning and selling this poor quality air as a souvenir would be a great idea. Believe it or not, he was right.
After seeing a number of companies achieve commercial success by canning fresh air from countries like France, Canada or Australia and selling it in China, Dominic Johnson-Hill, a British-born citizen of Beijing and owner of the Plastered 8 souvenir shop, decided to turn the idea on its head and sell canned Beijing air throughout China and abroad.
“I’d seen people going crazy to buy canned air from Canada and Australia, so I thought it was time to push business the other way,” the entrepreneur said. “They’re perfect gifts! What else are you going to take home when you go home from Beijing? A roast duck? A Plastered T-shirt? These cans are light, portable, you can just imagine someone’s face when they unwrap if for Christmas.”
The few mouth-fulls of Beijing air come in standard tin cans featuring a couple of iconic city landmarks as well as a snarky description of the contents: “a unique blend of nitrogen, oxygen and some other stuff”. The tongue-in-cheek souvenirs cost 28 RMB (US$4) and are available at the Plastered 8 shop, as well as on its online shop. But if you’e actually considering buying some, you’d better ask shop, as they are virtually flying off the shelves. Johnson-Hill told Ruptly that his shop is selling hundreds of Beijing air cans every day.
One thing that’s not particularly clear is if the air is really collected from Beijing, as the cans are labeled as “Made in Shenzen”. There’s a big chance that’s just Plastered 8 humor, as they also list “Chocking Hazard” and “May have come into contact with nuts” as warnings.
Photos: Plastered 8
via The Beijinger