Stock image on MTR website photoshopped to feature white man instead of Asian

The Asian man was edited out of the stock image and replaced a white person on the MTR website. Photos: MTR (left), Shutterstock (right)
The Asian man was edited out of the stock image and replaced a white person on the MTR website. Photos: MTR (left), Shutterstock (right)

A photo on the Hong Kong MTR website’s “about” page, showing an office meeting in a sunlit conference room, has been photoshopped to include a white man.

Found via a reverse image search tool, the original photo on Shutterstock features a group of questionably gleeful Asian colleagues. The second man from the left in the stock image is edited out in the MTR photo, replaced by a smiling, blond Caucasian.

Diversity, areweright?

The photoshop job was first tweeted by Hong Kong investor David Webb earlier this week. “A shout-out to HK’s MTRC for including a racial minority in its Shutterstock image,” Webb wrote.

It is unclear how long the photo has been on the transport company’s website, but the “Purpose, vision and values” page, where the picture is displayed, was last updated Jan. 28 this year according to Google Chrome’s developer tools.

MTR has not responded to Coconuts‘ request for comment.

The Shutterstock photo has also been used on at least two other websites, including the pages for JFI Holdings, a Singapore cleaning supplies sourcing company, and consultancy firm Singapore Immigration Experts.

Photo: Singapore Immigration Experts website
Photo: Singapore Immigration Experts website

In both instances, the photo is the undoctored, sans white man stock image.

The edited photo, front and center on the website of the majority public-owned company, underscores the tendencies of Hong Kong corporations to fall back on racial biases—even as the government promotes Hong Kong as “Asia’s world city.”

Read more: Racial privilege is well and alive in Hong Kong’s English teaching industry. Where’s the reckoning?

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