China Fines Top Influencer $210M Over Taxes

Chinese authorities slammed a $210 million fine on a top influencer for tax evasion, marking a record fine amid President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on online celebrities.

Huang Wei, also known by her username Viya, was ordered to pay 1.34 billion yuan in unpaid taxes and late fees, the State Taxation Administration said in a statement on Monday.

The department added that Huang evaded 643 million yuan in taxes by making false declarations in 2019 and 2020.

Huang posted an apology on her account in the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo after the penalty was announced, saying that she is “very remorseful” about her actions.

“I totally accept the decision of the tax regulator and will actively collect funds to pay the fines within the deadline,” Huang wrote.

Huang is one of China’s most popular e-commerce celebrities with over 110 million followers on social media. Influencers like Viya convince shoppers through social media to spend on items such as cosmetics, appliances and clothing.

The fine is by far the biggest of its kind for online celebrities. Beijing had launched a crackdown on tax evasion in the entertainment industry earlier this year as part of President Xi’s “common prosperity” campaign to redistribute wealth from thriving industries.

Last month, two other Chinese influencers were fined $15 million for tax evasion.

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