Chinese washing powder firm apologises for racist video

Firm initially blamed foreign media after advert sparked allegations of racism

A controversial advert for a Chinese detergent brand 'Qiaobi' has caused outrage online with some referring to it as 'racist'.


The washing powder company behind a racist video which has caused a major stir online in China has formally apologised for the campaign, after initially blaming foreign media for stirring controversy over the ad.

In the advertisement, a black man “washed” by the Qiaobi Detergent is transformed into a fair-skinned Asian man.

“We had no intention of discriminating against people of colour. The colour of one’s skin is not the standard by which we should judge each other. We strongly oppose and condemn racial discrimination,” Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics said in a statement.

“We sincerely hope the public and the media will not read too much into it.”

The ad was circulated on the Chinese social network WeChat late last week and has racked up more than 7.2 million views.

Initially the company said it condemned racial discrimination but blamed “too sensitive” foreign media for generating controversy over the advertisement.

In the commercial, a black workman, ill-shaven, covered in paint and wearing a dirty shirt, wolf whistles and winks at a Chinese homemaker, who puts a tab of detergent into his mouth and shoves him into the washing machine.

After the cycle ends, a clean-shaven Chinese man emerges.

“The advertisement and the surrounding controversy has hurt those of African descent, and because of this we would like to apologise. We sincerely hope that internet users and the media will not continue to over-analyse the situation,” the company said.

The company said it had stopped showing the advertisement and removed any links to the video, and it hoped the media would stop disseminating the video.