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Xiaomi Blasted for “Atomic Bomb in Japan” Smartphone Ad

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Tech giant Xiaomi has found itself mired in controversy over a commercial whose imagery referenced the World War II nuclear attacks on Japan.

The commercial (now deleted) was a fast-moving spot for the company’s Redmi Note 9 series of smartphones. In the ad, a Caucasian man eats a piece of sushi and inflates into a giant balloon. He crashes out through the roof of the building over a Japanese cityscape, where he explodes into a mushroom cloud.

The “Fat Man” imagery was supposed to highlight the phones’ “fast charge” feature. Xiaomi has since apologized on its Japanese Twitter account.

“We included content in this campaign that was inappropriate,” the statement reads. “We will strive to prevent this from recurring in the future.”

On China’s Weibo platform, response to the news was mixed. Some netizens chastised the insensitive imagery, while others regarded it as an act of patriotism.

“Don’t take someone else’s pain as a joke,” reads one.

“Huawei’s patriotism is just to make the viewer happy,” reads another top-rated comment. “For true patriotism, look to Xiaomi.”

“They didn’t forget the atomic bomb, we didn’t forget their invasion of China,” reads a related comment.

The news comes directly after a Xiaomi Vice President came under fire for vulgar comments.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan