China cracks on down on influencer with $210M tax bill



China slapped one of its most popular influencers with a record tax bill, sending a stern warning to the country’s aspiring social-media moguls.

The Chinese government said Monday that Huang Wei — top seller on Alibaba with the username Viya, also known as the “queen of livestreaming” — was a tax “evader” failing to disclose her income from her broadcasts between 2019 and 2020.

Accordingly, the social-media star was ordered to pay a record $210 million for tax evasion.

“If she can pay taxes, late fees and fines within the prescribed time limit, she will not be held criminally responsible,” the government’s tax bureau said in a statement.

The hefty fine comes on the heels of a broader “common prosperity” initiative by president Xi Jinping aimed at reducing economic inequality and reducing excessive incomes in entertainment and technology, according to an Agence France Presse report.

Huang Wei or Viya, wearing a white business suit at a press conference.
Viya or Huang Wei speaking at a press conference.
VCG via Getty Images
Viya takes a sip of water during a livestreaming session.
Viya taking a break during a livestreaming session.
VCG via Getty Images

Just last month, two other live stream influencers were fined $14 million by tax authorities and Viya had been fined $83,000 in June for violating advertisement laws for allegedly selling counterfeit products, according to the report.

What’s more, a slew of actors have recently been fined by the government for tax evasion or in one case for “high pay for a TV show with fraudulent contracts,” according to a South China Morning Post report. 

In September, tax authorities announced tougher rules covering celebrities and livestreamers, according to Bloomberg.

Viya holding an item that she's selling online.
Viya in action selling products online.
VCG via Getty Images

Viya apologized for her actions on Monday.

“I completely accept the punishment made by the tax department,” she said in a statement, “and will actively raise money to pay [the fine] on time.”

Some of the influencers who have been fined can no longer be found on, Alibaba’s e-commerce website, according to local press reports.

China's president, Xi Jingping.
China’s president, Xi Jingping, is spearheading a “common prosperity” initiative that frowns on excessive incomes in entertainment and technology.

Even Alibaba founder and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma ran afoul of the government in 2020 when he criticized the regulatory environment in China and fell out of public sight for a period of time.

He was spotted for the first time outside of China on a private yacht in Mallorca in October, according to press reports.


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