(CNN) A new commercial for one of China's largest online marketplaces never utters the words "gay rights." But it's making waves online for what appears to be a subtlechallenge to one of the country's major taboos.
The 23-second ad released by Tmall, an e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba ( ), begins when a young man brings another man home for the holidays and introduces him as "Kelvin." Two girls in the home respond by giggling and gossiping. At dinner, the father hands Kelvin a bowl of soup, and he responds by saying, "Thanks, Dad," creating an awkward moment of surprise.
The video caught fire this week when it was posted on the Chinese social media website Weibo by LoveMatters, an organization that provides education and advice about sex and relationships.
LoveMatters praised Tmall as a "prominent company" that supports the LGBT movement — something it said was "important for the community to be visible, to be seen by the public, and to be recognized."
The video has millions of views and has been liked on Weibo tens of thousands of times. It has also garnered more than 4,500 comments, many of which are positive.
"Tmall is taking a smart stance by avoiding saying directly that it's supportive [of gay couples] or not," wrote one user, whose name translates to an ancient Chinese phrase meaning "free spirited." "But it's already a great step forward."
In a statement to CNN Business, Alibaba did not acknowledge the ad's gay subtext, intended or otherwise. "Chinese New Year is a time for family reunion and inclusion, and the ad is a creative expression to celebrate such an occasion," the company said.
The ad isn't an unprecedented one for Alibaba, said Duncan Clark, chairman of the investment advisory firm BDA China and author of "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built."
In early 2015, for example, Alibaba's Taobao, another e-commerce subsidiary, sponsored an online contest with the gay dating app Blued to send couples from China to California to get married.