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One of China’s biggest tech companies just released a Chinese New Year ad starring a gay couple

Michele Theil January 9, 2020
Alibaba has been praised by gay communities in China for depicting, and supporting, same-sex couples in a new advert. (Screenshot via Twitter)

Alibaba has been praised by gay communities in China for depicting, and supporting, same-sex couples in a new advert. (Screenshot via Twitter)

An ad by e-commerce and tech multinational conglomerate Alibaba has been praised by gay communities in China for depicting, and supporting, same-sex couples.

The Chinese company’s ad was circulated on Chinese social media and showed two men returning to one of their homes for Chinese New Year. 

The ad is 20-seconds long, starting with one man introducing his male friend Kelvin to his mum. The camera then cuts to the dad looking at them suspiciously while two girls are laughing at the table. It is presumed they know the two men are a couple.

Kelvin then addresses his partner’s father as “Dad” and the ad ends with the narrator promoting a site-wide discount.

It is a very subtle way of giving China queer representation, but the implication of their relationship was received well by their audiences. Many gay people said the ad was good-natured and humorous but appropriately subtle. 

Alibaba released a statement saying: “Chinese New Year is a time for family reunion and inclusion, and the ad is a creative expression to celebrate such an occasion.”

LGBT+ representation within the Chinese media and entertainment industries is uncommon due to a lack of support for gay communities. The government often advises against depictions of LGBT+ people or outrightly censors it. 

Luckily, there has been an increase in tolerance towards same-sex couples and LGBT+ communities among many Chinese people  – particularly in big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. 

Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, showed many comments that supported Alibaba’s ad. One comment said: “It doesn’t directly support or not support [same-sex couples], but the fact that we can see it is already an amazing step.”

Alibaba has previously been very supportive of China’s gay communities, including flying 10 same-sex couples to Los Angeles for a trip back in 2017. 

More: advert, Alibaba, China, chinese new year, representation

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