Chinese businessman sells cans of 'fresh air' in Beijing smog

Multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao gives a can of fresh air to a Beijing resident Credit: REUTERS/Barry Huang

As Beijing residents face a third week of thick grey smog, one businessman is hoping for a windfall.

Multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao has started handing out cans of 'Fresh Air' - supposedly gathered from far-flung corners of China where the air is untainted.

The brightly-coloured cans - similar to fizzy-drinks cans - are emblazoned with a caricature of their creator and a slogan saying: "Chen Guangbiao is a good man".

"Be a good person, have a good heart, do good things," reads a message along the bottom of each can.

The orange and green cans carry a caricature of Mr Guangbiao Credit: REUTERS/Barry Huang

The charismatic Mr Guangbiao made a fortune in the recycling industry and is something of a celebrity in China where he is known for his philanthropy and wacky stunts.

He concedes that his latest stunt is tongue in cheek, but insists his aim is to awaken people to the importance of environmental protection.

"I want to tell mayors, county chiefs and heads of big companies: don't just chase GDP growth, don't chase the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment," he said.

A bewildered security guard reads the cans Credit: REUTERS/Barry Huang

Levels of air pollutants in Beijing have reached record levels in the last few weeks prompting the government to force the closure of some factories and reduce its fleet of vehicles.

The pollution has also sparked health fears with many people wearing face masks outside and a reported rise in hospital admissions.

Read: Air pollution in Beijing goes off the scale