CHINA - With smog plaguing large areas of China, especially Beijing and Shanghai, air purifiers and masks are joining the list of top gifts that Chinese bring home from the US for family members and friends.
The list already included luxury goods, health products and milk powder.
"I have bought 15 masks and plan to buy an air purifier to bring back to my family at the end of this month," said Bing, a Chinese PhD student studying mechanical engineering in New York, who did not give her full name.
She will travel back to her hometown of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, one of the cities most severely affected by smog.
"I have read news reports about the smoggy weather, and it occurred to me that maybe I should bring back an air purifier, since the quality of these products in the US is generally more trusted," Bing added. "I asked my parents if the situation was bad and if they needed one and they think it's a great idea."
Bing said some of her Chinese friends in the US are buying masks online and asked her if she wanted some to take back to China. "I said, 'of course'."
Yang Yang, a 23-year-old overseas student studying in the United States, bought an air purifier there last year and brought it home to Beijing as a New Year's gift for his family.
"The purifier I got from Amazon was about half the price of some of those available in China," he said. "In addition, I find that the quality of the foreign products is more reliable.
"Many of my friends from China have bought purifiers online in the US, as the prices are very reasonable there," he added. However, Yang had to pay customs tariffs when he returned home in April.