Viya Huang Wei (also known as Huang Wei) is an internet celebrity who has tens to millions of followers. Her platform has allowed her to sell many products.
Authorities in Hangzhou claim she hid her income and other financial crimes between 2019-2020.
She posted a Weibo post in which she expressed her deepest regret.
The post stated that “I fully accept the punishment made tax authorities,”
China’s online shopping boom has made the 36-year old a celebrity internet.
She is known as the “live-streaming queen” of the country and has sold everything, from noodles to commercial rocket launches on the Taobao online shopping platform.
According to the Reuters news agency, Viya was scheduled to host a makeup sales event Monday evening. However, her streaming account went down.
Because of her vast platform, she was included on Time magazine’s list 100 most influential people in 2021.
The tide turns against a huge star
Kerry Allen, China media analyst
Viya is one the most popular online sales vloggers in China.
However, her massive tax evasion fine has quickly turned the tide against her.
One of the top hashtags on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo is #ViyaCompletelyBlockedOnline as outlets seek to remove her presence. Her Weibo account where she had 18,000,000 followers has been deleted. Media reports also suggest that her Taobao account has been removed.
Global Times newspaper claims that the penalty is a warning to others. There have been indications that China is trying to reform the industry over the past month.
China is home to the largest live streaming industry in the world. More than 400 million video bloggers or vloggers are located in China.
Online influencers were prohibited from recommending stocks online and 88 celebrities were warned about live-streaming content.
Lin Shanshan and Zhu Chenhui were also notable live-streamers. They were fined US $10.2m each and $4.3m respectively. Weibo accounts were also removed.
China Daily newspaper stated at the time that “the investigation into and punishment of tax evaders [would] be intensified in order to create a fair tax climate”.