Ikea has apologized and pulled a TV advert in China that showed a young woman being scolded by her parents for not having a boyfriend.
Photo: Screen shot from Ikea advert
The Swedish furniture giant has been accused of being sexist and promoting unhealthy Chinese family values after the advert was launched this week.
The scene opens with a mother scolding her daughter for coming to dinner alone, saying, "If you don't bring home a boyfriend next time, then don't call me Mum!"
A young man with flowers then magically appears at the door and is introduced by the daughter as her boyfriend.
The happy parents whip out the Ikea tableware, fill the young man’s plate with food and all is right with the world.
However, the ad caused quite a stir on Chinese social media, with many denouncing it online as sexist.
One Weibo user said, “An international brand Ikea should bring us the best things from the world and benefit China. It shouldn't be learning bad things from China and spreading them to the world."
Unmarried women above the age of 27 are colloquially known as “leftover women” in China after the Communist Party coined the phrase in a bid to encourage women to marry early.
However, the topic has become more taboo in recent years as young Chinese women push back against the outdated concept.
Ikea posted an apology on Weibo on Tuesday.
"This TV ad tried to show how Ikea can help customers easily and affordably convert a typical living room into a place for celebration. The purpose was to encourage customers to celebrate moments in everyday life," it said.
The company added that it "encourages people to live many different lifestyles", and that "gender equality is a fundamental part of the Ikea culture and values".
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Keywords: sexist Ikea ad China
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