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Such an easy question to answer. I can't understand the confusion.
It's all to do with marketing: What sells...Sells. Simple as that.|
There is no conspiracy about it all.
It is the same thing with items like calendars at Chunjie (Spring Festival). Many Chinese people like to receive calendars emblazoned with exotic cars, buxom European women, skylines of foreign cities...and many foreigners (myself included) would rather receive a calendar with pictures of Chinese art or landscapes of places in China - or of course beautiful Chinese women;-)
This is simply another of those universal things that bears little in resemblance to anything political or conspiratorial and definitely not something to get worked up about.
Go to almost any home of my friends or family members in Canada and you find Chinese art, Native Canadian and Native North American art, crystal from Europe etc., but what you wont find are pictures of the skyline of a North American or European city - unless it is a picture of older - much older, and historical - buildings.
People always gravitate to those things that are not part of their daily lives.
Sort of like only seeing foreigners in China wearing Qing Dynasty and earlier Chinese clothing - unless the Chinese person is working in a restaurant, a hotel or getting a "period" themed wedding picture taken or going out to a special event where a "costume" is de riguer.
What offends me most to be honest is the false advertising playing on the ancient Chinese - way back in the Tang Dynasty when it was most common - idea that a woman with a super-white face was more attractive than a woman with natural color skin. I find not only the ads offensive but the companies that cater to this aspect of industry to be repulsive; and the women and young girls that feed this multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry to be downright stupid - no offense ladies but a pasty-faced over-white Chinese girl looks sick. Bloodless is what it is called and if there is no blood in the face it is naturally viewed as a sign of illness by doctors - including Chinese Traditional doctors.
These ads, and the ones suggesting that a cream will give a women with a 32A cup breast a 36D cup breast in 20 minutes, or that a pill will make a 4-foot-tall child into the next Yao Ming are the real problems.
But, stupidity is one of the mainstays of advertising and it is counted on by the advertisers. If people weren't naturally stupid then the companies that use such advertising would be out of business.
No conspiracy. No political motivation. Just money oriented.
Recently in China there have been several racially-motivated ads produced by foreign companies that have hit the market and they have been pulled because they were racially-motivated and insulting to Chinese people.
Recently MacRonalds - that scion of the evil of the "sell-poison-garbage-to-children" group, ran an ad showing a Chinese gentleman kneeling in front of an electronic salesman begging for a discount coupon. The ad goes on to say that one needn't beg to get a coupon from MacRonalds. Disgusting of course in the first place to suggest that a Chinese person's integrity was so low they would get down on their knees for a coupon to save a dollar - but more disgusting that MacRonalds would commission, approve and run the ad; with special mention to the stations that allowed it to be shown.
It wasn't that long ago in HK that MacRonalds was forced to retract an ad that showed a child ridiculing another child saying that the reason her parents took her to eat the poison garbage at MacRonalds was because her parents loved her; and the reason the other child's parents didn't take him must be because his parents didn't love him!
Of course, I looked at in another way that the parents that didn't try and kill their child with the poison garbage from MacRonalds were the true "loving parents" but that wasn't the point MacRonalds was trying to get across.
It's all just advertising. Vile of course, but not all ads or commercials are vile, but showing a few foreign faces in ads in China is pretty insignificant as an earth-shaking event.
Maybe it is just that since Malaysia is such a backward place weilian; and so tightly controlled by a religious cult; it just seems odd to you to get out into the world.
Oh, and by the way, I watch Chinese television every day and I can't remeber the last time I saw a "foreign" face in a commercial - except for Da Shan selling a handheld electronic dictionary/translation machine; but he's considered nearly Chinese anyway.