Sportswear giant Nike Inc has apologised for a banned footwear commercial in China that featured an attack on a kung fu fighter.

The company said in a statement quoted by Reuters that the advert was meant to imitate1970s martial arts heroes and was broadcast with the aim of encouraging Asian youths to "face their fears in basketball."

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television told stations to stop broadcasting the advert after it received a barrage of complaints on the grounds that it offended the national culture.

Nike adverts resembling graffiti caused a string of complaints in Singapore last month.