A Chinese firm issued an apology Saturday over its detergent advertisement that has been met with accusations of racism and cultural insensitivity. The manufacturer of Qiaobi reportedly said it strongly opposed and condemned racial discrimination, and apologized for the controversy caused due to the commercial.

The advertisement shows a black worker flirting and then trying to kiss a Chinese woman. But before contact is made, the woman places a detergent pod into the man's mouth and throws him into a washing machine before he reappears as a light-skinned Asian. The commercial closes with the brand's tagline: “Change starts with Qiaobi.”

"We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media," Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics Ltd Co., said in its apology, BBC reported. "We sincerely hope the public and the media will not over-read it."

The company also reportedly said that the links for the advertisement have been withdrawn, and urged social media users to stop sharing it online.

In the last few days, the commercial has been watched more than 6.5 million times on YouTube.