China's Lucrative Livestream Shopping Industry: Influencer Shocks with $13M Tax Bill

By John Lopez

Apr 03, 2024 02:26 PM EDT

A young social media sensation known as "Little Fairy" has stunned China's booming influencer industry by disclosing a staggering $13 million tax bill for the year 2023, SCMP reports.

Pan Yurun, aged 28, boasts an impressive 7.7 million followers on Douyin, China's counterpart of TikTok. Renowned for her skincare and makeup tips, Pan's massive tax payout sheds light on the immense profitability of the influencer scene in the country.

China's Lucrative Influencer Industry

With her estimated annual income surpassing $28 million, Pan's jaw-dropping tax payment is explained. Her willingness to fulfill her tax responsibilities contrasts sharply with recent crackdowns on celebrities evading taxes in China. 

Notably, another prominent figure, "live-streaming queen" Viya, was fined a hefty $210 million for tax evasion, signaling growing scrutiny of the industry.

Having transitioned from sharing weight loss advice to peddling clothes and beauty products, Pan now focuses on marketing skincare items through her live streams on Douyin. Her dedication has earned her recognition as one of China's top 50 Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) by Forbes in 2019.

China boasts a vast influencer community, with over 150 million live-streamers, yet the majority earn modest incomes below the individual income tax threshold of $700 per month. 

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This photo taken early on October 23, 2020 shows Silvia Rivera attending a livestreaming event at a studio in Shanghai to offer products on an Aliexpress channel in Spain. - By some estimates, livestream shopping is a near $70 billion industry inside China, attracting influencers who scour markets and malls for items to peddle to live audiences via social media. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) / TO GO WITH STORY
(Photo : Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Influencer Earns More Than $18 Million in a Week

In similar news, another Douyin sensation, Zheng Xiang Xiang, has garnered attention for her minimalist approach to live-streaming sales. By showcasing each product for a mere three seconds and eschewing upselling, Xiang Xiang managed to rake in an astounding $18.7 million in sales within a week, Singaporean media reported in November.

Her unique aesthetic and affordable offerings have captivated audiences, demonstrating the various strategies used within China's lucrative livestream e-commerce landscape.

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