China’s top livestream host, Huang Wei, better known as Viya, has been fined 1.34 billion yuan ($210 million) for tax evasion, according to tax authorities.
The tax bureau for the city of Hangzhou released a statement saying the 36-year-old influencer failed to fully disclose her personal income in 2019 and 2020.
She later published a written apology to her Weibo account that read in part: “I’m deeply sorry about my violations of the tax laws and regulations … [and] I thoroughly accept the punishment made by the tax authorities.”
Viya is one of the most powerful livestreamers in China’s booming social commerce industry. Her daily livestream regularly attracts an audience in the tens of millions and during major events, such as Singles’ Day sales periods, Viya moves billions of yuan in merchandise via her channel.
Recently China’s tax authorities have been scrutinising both celebrities and influencers. Actress Zheng Shuang, livestreamers Xueli Cherie and Lin Shanshan Sunny have all been levied fines for tax evasion in recent months.
China’s tax authorities have punished two top livestreamers, Zhu Chenhui, who uses the screen name Xueli Cherie and Lin Shanshan, who also goes by Lin Shanshan Sunny, for tax evasion and fined them 66 million yuan ($10.34 million) and 28 million yuan ($4.38 million) respectively.
Editor’s Note: This article was revised on 20th December, 2021. An earlier version of this article misstated the fine’s value in US dollars.