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China Influencer Crackdown Exposes Loophole Used to Hide Wealth

  • Popular live-streamer Viya fined for concealing income
  • Campaign against idols comes amid ‘common prosperity’ drive
Livestreamer Huang Wei, known professionally as Viya.
Livestreamer Huang Wei, known professionally as Viya.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

An intensifying crackdown in China on the country’s ballooning live-streaming industry is exposing the loophole that had allowed online influencers to dodge millions of dollars in taxes. 

On Monday, the State Taxation Administration fined Viya, a top live-streamer, $210 million, and accused her of concealing personal income and making false declarations in 2019 and 2020. Last month, authorities also fined two live-streamers in Hangzhou nearly $15 million in total for illegally booking employment income as business income.