An online shop sells air from New Zealand. (Photo/China Daily)
Stop, don't breathe. Hold it! OK, first pay 1.2 yuan (.17) if you want fresh air to reach your lungs.
No, we are not kidding. The most precious but free thing in the world -- air -- is now being bottled and sold on some e-commerce platforms in the country. The air comes from both home and abroad, priced from 5 yuan to more than 200 yuan.
"Want to breathe the most pure and fresh air? Then take a bottle of air from Weihai. No pollutants, absolutely pure. Either from seashore, or from mountain," an advertisement of an online store claims.
A bottle of fresh air from Weihai, East China's Shandong province, is priced 5 yuan at an online outlet called "Weihai Hongyu Diaoju."
The imported air is more expensive. For example, the bottled air branded Vitality Air from Canada costs 108 yuan a bottle of 7.2 liters, and the air from New Zealand 219 yuan a bottle of 7.7 liters.
How to use the bottled air? Open the bottle and take a deep breath. The Vitality Air of Canada provides buyers masks, and the bottle of New Zealand air has an injector. A bottle of New Zealand air could be used around 180 times.
What about the shelf life? Sellers of Weihai air claim it has a long shelf life, the Vitality Air has one year and the New Zealand air has no expiration if the bottle is not opened.
Are there buyers? The owner of "Weihai Hongyu Diaoju" said that no one has yet bought the air, and it was only a gimmick to fulfill people's curiosity.
A seller of the Vitality Air said that it was useless, but a novel product. But the seller still made five transactions in a month. The Vitality Air said on its official WeChat account, a Twitter-like service, the company sold 10,000 bottles in eight months since May 2015.
So far, there are no regulations, or standards on the bottled air in China, and what kind of product the bottled air belongs to? The seller of New Zealand air said that he did not know either.
An official from the commerce and industry authority said that China has no special laws and regulations on banning such product from entering the country.
Zhang Xueming, a Beijing lawyer on product quality and safety, said the imported air is related to safety problems because of the pressure container. The imported pressure container should get registered and approved by authorities.
Some experts said people should not buy such products without production date and quality certificates. They added that the products could be just hype to catch people's attention.