Chinese live-stream shopping influencer Huang Wei, known as Viya, has been hit with a whopping US$210 million penalty for tax evasion and kicked off social media.
The 36-year-old has become a major internet celebrity in China, fuelled by the meteoric growth of online shopping.
She’s known as the country’s “live-streaming queen” and has sold everything from noodles to a commercial rocket launch on the online shopping Taobao platform.
Viya reportedly committed tax fraud from 2019 to 2020, during which she evaded some 643 million yuan ($100 million) in taxes and also failed to pay an additional 60 million yuan ($9.4 million) in taxes.
Separately, in June this year, after being accused of pushing counterfeit products, Viya was fined 530,000 yuan for breaking advertisement laws.
Meanwhile, Viya was reported to have apologized for her actions. She is “deeply guilty” and has agreed to the terms of the government and said she “will actively raise money to pay the fine on time.”
The Chinese live-streaming industry is the biggest in the world with over 400 million video bloggers (vloggers) residing in the country. Xi Jinping, the president of the tax bureau, explained that the tax is aimed at clamping down on excessive incomes in the industry and cutting economic inequality.