Top Livestreaming Influencer Viya Fined Whopping $210M for Tax Evasion

The lesson here is simple: Pay your damn taxes!

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2:48 AM HKT, Tue December 21, 2021 1 mins read

Update (10:55 PM, 2021/12/30): Chinese media is reporting that hugely popular livestreaming influencer Viya has had her social media accounts removed from services such as microblogging platform Weibo, ecommerce site Taobao, and China’s version of TikTok, Douyin. Viya’s social media banishment comes following an announcement from Chinese tax authorities that she had been fined more than 1.34 billion RMB for tax evasion. See our earlier report below.

On December 20, tax authorities in China’s Zhejiang province announced that the queen of China’s livestreaming industry, Viya, real name Huang Wei, was fined more than 1.34 billion RMB (roughly 210 million USD) for tax evasion.

Viya, one of the most famous livestreamers in the industry, is known for her ability to sell a wide range of products, from cosmetics to apartments to rocket-launch packages. Her sales skills are so impressive that netizens have previously claimed she could earn enough money to buy a house in a single night.

According to the official notice from tax authorities, through big data analysis, it was discovered that Viya evaded paying more than 640 million RMB in taxes by underreporting her personal income and fabricating business.

The notice also states that Viya actively cooperated with the investigation, and she willingly paid 500 million RMB to fulfill her tax duty (her better-late-than-never tax contribution was seemingly deducted from her total fine and perhaps resulted in some leniency from authorities).

Viya has issued an apology on Weibo, saying she realized she failed to fulfill her tax duty during self-investigation and official investigation.

Viya in a video campaign for a nonprofit organization

The hashtag ‘Viya was fined 1.341 billion for tax evasion’ (#薇娅偷逃税被追缴并处罚款13.41亿元#) quickly became the top trending topic on Weibo, accumulating more than 760 million views at the time of writing.

Netizens were surprised by the news, with many in awe of the amount of money she owed.

“If you investigate the influencer circles, you can [have enough money to] build an aircraft carrier,” reads the most upvoted comment under a post by CCTV.

Others were angry that such wealthy individuals still chose to cheat the system. A netizen wrote, “They made so much money, but they still evaded taxes, don’t be too greedy.”

Less than a month ago, two other famous livestreaming influencers, Xueli and Lin Shanshan, were also fined for tax evasion.

The fact that authorities investigated a livestreamer as high profile as Viya shows that the Chinese government is increasing its efforts to regulate the nation’s lucrative livestreaming industry, which has an estimated market value of more than 66 billion USD.

All images via Weibo

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