Chinese regulators extended the clampdown on top-earning influencers in the past month by tightening scrutiny over e-commerce sales stars such as "livestreaming queen" Viya and "lipstick king" Li Jiaqi, along with “the godmother of WeChat commerce” Zhang Ting. Tencent shed large stakes in both online retailer JD and Singapore’s SEA, owner of Shopee—possibly in response to mounting pressure from antitrust regulators. Job cuts among Chinese tech giants extended from video app Kuaishou and fashion e-commerce site Mogu. Inc., to online grocer Dingdong Maicai and fresh produce service Meicai. Cross-border e-commerce titan Globalegrow and online luxury seller Secoo fell from grace. And Alibaba overhauled its domestic e-commerce business.

1. Viya and other top e-commerce influencers tamed

News: Taxation authorities in Huangzhou municipality in Zhejiang province imposed a RMB 1.34 billion ($210 million) fine on China’s top livestreamer Viya for tax evasion on Dec. 20. Viya’s social media accounts on all mainstream platforms such as Weibo, Douyin, and Taobao Live, where she had more than 120 million fans, were erased from public view overnight. Four days later, Li Jiaqi, another top livestreamer and a sales rival of Viya, was summoned by Zhejiang Consumers Council for questioning over various unregulated practices. Meanwhile, on Dec. 23, the Market Regulation and Monitoring Administration of Yuhua District in northern China’s Shijiazhuang city opened a pyramid scheme investigation into Ting’s Secret, an online cosmetics brand founded by Taiwanese celebrity couple Zhang Ting and Lin Ruiyang.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.