Online gay communities in China are praising e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba for releasing a subtle advert that appears to feature a same-sex couple returning home for the Lunar New Year.
In the 20-second spot, a young man enters his home and introduces a male partner as “Kelvin” to his mother.
The camera cuts to a father figure looking at the couple with suspicion, and then to two girls sitting at the table who giggle knowingly.
The advert ends when Kelvin refers to his companion’s father as “Dad,” causing an awkward silence at the desk.
The narrator then promotes a site-wide discount on dried seeds and nuts, riffing a Chinese-language expression for watching the drama unfold.
The spot began to spread extensively on Chinese social media on Wednesday as gay groups lauded it for its good-natured humor and subtlety.
Depictions of homosexuals in entertainment and media are rare, because of government dissuasion or outright suppression.
However, China has vibrant gay communities and activists in its major cities, and same-sex couples are more and more tolerated across society.
Lovematters, a popular gay-themed account on China’s Twitter-Esque Weibo, shared and thanked Alibaba’s e-commerce site Tmall for supporting the gay group. The account’s put up received over 25,000 shares.
Alibaba didn’t immediately reply to request for additional comment on the advert.
One top-rated comment on Weibo described the position of the Alibaba’s advert as clever.
Alibaba has supported China’s homosexual community up to now. In 2017, the company paired with gay dating app Blued and flew 10 couples to Los Angeles for a week-long journey that included a group wedding ceremony.