In it, a black man is stuffed head-first into a washing machine before emerging as a light-skinned Asian.
In its initial response several days ago, the firm had suggested that its critics overseas were too sensitive.
And in a statement of apology late on Saturday, Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics Ltd Co also blamed foreign media for amplifying the advert. It first appeared in March but was halted amid protests this week which followed extensive media coverage of the controversy.
“We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media,” it said. “We sincerely hope the public and the media will not over-read it.”