A public-owned transport company has sparked outrage online after it appeared as if they had used photoshop to turn an Asian man into a white man.

The image on Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway's website showed four people laughing away in a seemingly innocuous office scene.

However, a reverse image search discovered that the original stock image on Shuttershock featured four Asian people, rather than three Asian people and a gleefully smiling white bloke.

The photo appears to have been on the site since at least January 28, which was the last time the transport company's "Our Purpose" page was updated.

It is still up now, alongside the line: "We question the status quo, proactively seek improvement and take ownership to overcome obstacles."

A Hong Kong-based investment page tweeted the discovery last week, with the caption: "A shout-out to HK's MTRC for including a racial minority in its Shutterstock image (no, these actors don't work for MTRC)."

One reply simply read "ummm".

Image search engines reveal that the photo has been used on two other sites, those of Singaporean cleaning supplies company JFI Holdings and Singaporean consultancy firm Immigration Experts.

Surprisingly, neither site thought it was necessary to photoshop any other racial groups into the image and the white man was absent.

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The doctored image has also highlighted concerns around the tendencies of companies in Asia to play on racial biases.

Back in 2016, a Chinese detergent company launched an infamous advert where a black man was led into a washing machine, one of their tablets was thrown in, and out popped a fair-skinned Asian man.

The owner of the company, ,who identified himself as Mr Xia, told the BBC he didn't even realise it was racist.

He said: "To be honest, I didn't really pay that much attention to the advertisement."

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