Top livestreamer Huang Wei, commonly known as Viya, is the latest internet celebrity to be fined for tax evasion in the last year.
The State Taxation Administration said in a statement Monday that top livestreamer Huang Wei, commonly known as Viya, must pay 1.34 billion yuan (approximately $210 million) in taxes, late fees and fines. She allegedly avoided taxes totaling 643 million yuan (approximately $99 million) along with underpaying by 60 million yuan (approximately $9.4 million) in taxes in 2019 and 2020, the statement added.
In response to the statement, Huang Wei, known online as the “queen of livestreaming,” posted her own statement on Weibo where she wrote she was feeling “deeply guilty.”
“I totally accept the decision of the tax regulator and will actively collect funds to pay the fines within the deadline,” she wrote in the post.
Crackdown on influencers
According to Bloomberg, this is the biggest fine that has been given to online influencers like Huang Wei, who make a living convincing others to buy things online. She is one of the biggest influencers on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Taobao marketplace, fueling consumption from a great portion of their customers. Viya is also the latest influencer to have been slapped with these charges in what is considered to be a crackdown on internet celebrities by China’s President Xi Jinping.
Two other influential livestreamers — Zhu Chenhui, commonly known as Xueli Cherie, and Lin Shanshan — were fined a total of 93.2 million yuan (approximately $14.6 million) for tax evasion in November, according to state-run media CGTN. Both of their Taobao e-shops were shut down afterward.