For tax evasion, a leading Chinese live-streamer was fined 1.34 billion yuan ($210 million).
Viya, or Huang Wei, is an internet celebrity with tens of millions of fans. She has sold a wide range of things through her site.
Between 2019 and 2020, Hangzhou authorities accuse her of concealing her own income as well as other financial crimes.
She apologised “deeply” in a post on her Weibo account.
“I thoroughly accept the punishment made by the tax authorities,” the post said.
Because of the explosive expansion of online shopping in China, the 36-year-old has become a famous internet celebrity.
She’s dubbed the “live-streaming queen” in China and has sold anything from noodles to a commercial rocket launch on the Taobao online shopping platform.
According to the Reuters news agency, Viya was set to host a cosmetics sales event on Monday evening before her streaming account went down.
Because of her massive platform, she was nominated to Time magazine’s list of 100 most important people in 2021.
Viya is one of the most well-known influencers or internet sales vloggers in China.
However, in light of her hefty tax evasion fine, the tide has suddenly turned against her.
As outlets seek to eradicate Viya’s presence, one of the most popular hashtags on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo is #ViyaCompletelyBlockedOnline.
Her Weibo account, which had 18 million followers, has been deactivated, and media reports claim that her account on the eBay-like Taobao retail platform has been stopped as well.
According to the Global Times, her punishment serves as a “warning to others.” However, for the past month, there have been signals that China is attempting to restructure the business.
China boasts the world’s largest live-streaming industry. In the United States, there are more than 400 million vloggers (also known as video bloggers).
Online influencers were barred from advocating stocks online last month, and 88 celebrities were issued “warnings” over live-streaming content.
Zhu Chenhui and Lin Shanshan, two additional well-known live-streamers, were fined $10.2 million and $4.3 million, respectively, and had their Weibo accounts deactivated.
The China Daily newspaper said at the time that “the investigation and punishment of those who evade taxes [would] be intensified to create a fair tax environment”.
(Adapted from GlobalTimes.com)