A Chinese firm has issued an apology after its laundry detergent advertisement went viral and provoked allegations of racism.
The advertisement showed a black man “whitewashed” by the firm’s Qiaobi laundry detergent and turned into a fair-skinned Asian man.
Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics issued a statement on its Weibo account on Saturday night, saying that it strongly condemned racial discrimination and was sorry for the controversy the ad had triggered.
It apologised for the harm caused “because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media”.
Urging online users and media not to overreact to the video, the company revealed that links to the ad had been removed.
In an initial response, the firm suggested that the foreign media were “too sensitive” to the ad's contents.
It appears the Chinese ad drew inspiration from a series similar ads by Italian company Coloreria Italiana, which show a white man and woman being thrown into a washing machine before emerging as a muscular black man.