Billionaire Chen Guangbiao promotes plan for bottled air by smashing e-bicycles

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2012, 9:00am

Headline-grabbing billionaire Chen Guangbiao appeared on mainland television at the weekend with a sledgehammer and a new business plan: selling air.

Wearing a white sleeveless shirt, the eccentric chief executive of a recycling company swung the hammer and smashed about a dozen electric bicycles powered by batteries containing lead.

Before long, the bikes were in several pieces, and the head of Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources, whose nickname is "Low Carbon Chen", explained that the stunt was designed to raise awareness about the dangers of pollution from the widely-used bicycle batteries.

"[The batteries are] like nuclear weapons that release invisible nuclear radiation," Chen told Jiangsu TV.

He then discussed how he plans to bottle fresh oxygen - collected from remote areas such as Shangri-La , Yunnan , and Jinggangshan , Jiangxi - and sell the bottles for between four and five yuan (HK$4.9 and HK$6.1).

It was unclear how much air each bottle will hold, but Chen said they were designed using special technology and that he was able to take a few breaths from a single can.

The bottled air will be available in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou - notorious for their poor air quality - from September 17, which is National No-Driving Day. Last year, Chen performed a similar stunt ahead of the day by destroying his Mercedes-Benz. Chen was clearly confident his plan would pay off, as he told the television station that it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect annual sales of 100 million yuan.

Also a philanthropist, Chen said the move would give jobs to thousands of people in places where the clean air is collected, as he would pay locals 0.10 yuan for each bottle filled.

The bottles will be labelled "Chen Guangbiao, Good Person" - which he has trademarked.

Chen became a national celebrity after donating 180 million yuan to help victims of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.