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Viya: Chinese influencer and ‘live streaming queen’ fined $210m for tax evasion

Huang Wei - known as Viya - is the latest star to fall foul of a broad crackdown by China’s tax authorities

Namita Singh
Monday 20 December 2021 15:07 GMT
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Huang Wei’s daily livestream attracts an audience in the tens of millions regularly
Huang Wei’s daily livestream attracts an audience in the tens of millions regularly (Screengrab/Bloomberg Quicktake)

China’s “queen of livestreaming” Huang Wei, better known as Viya, has been fined 1.34 billion yuan ($210.16m or £159m) for tax evasion.

The 36-year-old influencer was penalised for failing to disclose her personal income in 2019 and 2020, tax authorities for the city of Hangzhou said in a statement on Monday.

Viya apologised on her Weibo account.

“I’m deeply sorry about my violations of the tax laws and regulations… [and] I thoroughly accept the punishment made by the tax authorities,” she said.

Viya had shot to fame in China and was known for selling a rocket launch service for 40m yuan ($6.3m or £4.7m) last year. She is widely known for her ability to sell “anything” via live streaming on the Taobao Live platform.

Her daily livestream attracts an audience in the tens of millions regularly, reported Business of Fashion, adding that during major events like Singles Day sales, the influencer moved merchandise worth billions of yuan through her channel.

She sold products worth a total of 8.5bn yuan ($1.3bn or £1bn) in a single evening during the recent online shopping festival, reported Reuters.

Viya is the latest among celebrities and influencers who have been caught up in a broad crackdown by the country’s tax authorities.

Earlier in August, authorities levied a fine of 299m yuan ($47m or £33.5m) on actress Zheng Shuang for tax evasion.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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