Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese private entrepreneur known for his philanthropy, began to sell canned fresh air Monday, a move he claimed was to draw more people's attention to environmental protection.
"We've sold 1,000 cans in Tongzhou district today, earning about 5,000 yuan ($792)," Chen told the Global Times Monday, adding that he will donate all the earnings to the Chinese military to defend the Diaoyu Islands.
The air is collected from revolutionary regions, including Jinggang Mountain in Jiangxi Province, some ethnic minority areas and Taiwan, and sells for four to five yuan each, he said.
"One only has to open the can, directly 'drink' it or put the nose close to the can to breath deeply," said Chen.
According to Chen, there is a chip in the can. When the negative oxygen ions reach a certain concentration the lid is triggered by the chip and closed.
As the fresh air is compressed, it stays inside even without a lid, he claimed, and the buyers today are mainly those who support environmental protection and those who are curious about the can.
Residents were cautious over Chen's claims.
"Who can ensure the air was collected in Shangri-La?" said resident Shi Tingting, 27, from Chaoyang district.
"Is the fresh air really better than what we breathe every day?" said Wang Fu, a Beijing resident.
"I'd rather go to the countryside for a walk than buy it."