Chinese social media star fined $210 million for tax evasion

Huang Wei, commonly known as Viya, China’s top social media sales influencer, was fined $210 million for failing to declare 2019 taxes amounting to $110 million in 2020, according to Chinese tax authorities.

Huang Wei, billed as China’s leading livestream sales personality, has recently managed to sell $1.3 billion worth of products in her livestream on one day, according to reports.

With a net worth of $1.25 billion, Huang ranks among China’s wealthiest 500 people. She was named on Time magazine’s list of 100 influential figures in 2021 and described as “the widely beloved businesswoman and influencer who is helping to shape the future of e-commerce in China.”

Along with the huge fine, Huang’s social media platform, which boasted tens of millions of followers, has been taken down.

Huang’s accounts on livestream sales platform Taobao Live, microblog Weibo, and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, were unavailable yesterday, when she was scheduled to host a cosmetics-themed live stream.

Acknowledging the fine on her Weibo account, the 36-year-old said she was “deeply sorry” and that she thoroughly accepted the punishment. The $210 million fine includes the unpaid taxes and penalties.

Beijing has been cracking down on tax evasion by prominent influencers as e-commerce booms in China. Last month, two more top livestreamers were issued fines amounting to more than $14 million and suspended from social media. Another 88 celebrities were given “warnings” over livestreaming content.

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