186 million euros fine as a warning: Chinese influencer is convicted of tax evasion

Commerce influencer Viya is set to pay a new record sum – the Chinese government has now decided. This large sum is intended as a warning to other Internet personalities.

A tough financial blow for the Chinese “live stream queen”, as Viya (real name Huang Wei) is also called. Because the shopping influencer has to pay a drastic fine of the equivalent of 186 million euros. the “People’s newspaper”, which is controlled by the Chinese government, spoke of a “warning” for all popular commerce personalities at the record amount. In the coverage of the incident it is said that the high sum is a reminder that “that […] Advertising appearances may not take place outside of the law ”.

The Hangzou Tax Office said that Huang Wei evaded a total of 643 million yuan (equivalent to nearly 90 million euros) by providing false information about her income and incorrectly declaring her income. The fine of 1.34 billion yuan exceeds all previous fines for livestream shopping stars. TV star Fan Binbing had to pay the highest fine to date – 884 million yuan (equivalent to a good 120 million euros).

Chinese government wants to make an example of influencer Viya

The severe punishment of Viya is part of a Chinese government campaign against celebrities and influential figures in the country. The 35-year-old influencer has a large fan base and can attract up to ten million people to the screens per stream. It is no surprise that this worries the Chinese authorities. The 35-year-old shopping icon publicly regrets her “mistake” and pays the record fine without complaint.

Social commerce is booming in the corona years – and is becoming more and more complicated for influencers

E-commerce increased not only in Germany via online shops, live streams and social media platforms. The industry has also been booming in China since the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Huang Wei’s estimated net worth is a whopping 31 billion yuan for 2020.

In the case of the Commerce Influencer, it became clear what she pays the penalty for, namely for tax evasion. In influencer marketing, the guidelines that creators must adhere to are not always as clear-cut as tax law. For example, influencer Cathy Hummels was on trial with two other Internet personalities because they allegedly carried out surreptitious advertising in their posts and did not clearly identify product placements.

The BGH ruling from September 2021 stipulated: Posts by influencers that only link to a company account with a tap tag are not per se for advertising purposes. The situation is different if a link is made directly to company websites and a consideration is provided by the company. Although the decision exonerated two of the three accused influencers, the guidelines that apply to the diverse field of influencer marketing are still not exhaustive and sufficiently defined.

Such judgments are therefore becoming more and more important in this country with the increasing e-commerce on social platforms. It remains to be seen whether German influencers will have to expect such high penalties for violations in the future as influencers in China.

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Source: OnlineMarketing.de by onlinemarketing.de.

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