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China’s ‘Kim Kardashian’ Sparks Controversy as Dior’s New Brand Ambassador

With over 80 million Weibo fans, China’s ‘Kim Kardashian’ Yang Ying a.k.a. Angelababy is one of China’s most-followed celebrities on social media. Despite her many Weibo fans, Chinese Dior lovers are not happy about her recent appointment as the brand’s ambassador. This article was originally posted by our friends at Jing Daily.

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With over 80 million Weibo fans, “China’s Kim Kardashian” Yang Ying a.k.a. Angelababy is one of China’s most-followed celebrities on social media. Despite her many Weibo fans, Chinese Dior lovers are not happy about her recent appointment as the brand’s ambassador. – This article was originally posted by our friends at Jing Daily. –

Parisian fashion powerhouse Christian Dior is being harshly criticized on social media for its appointment of Chinese actress Yang Ying, aka Angelababy, as its first brand ambassador in China. Yang, who has been called the “Kim Kardashian of China” (and spent $31 million on her wedding—more than Kardashian spent on hers), said in a video that Dior is her “favorite brand.”

Almost immediately upon publication on Dior’s official Weibo and WeChat accounts on April 28, the news exploded on China’s social media. By the time of this publication, the number of comments under the original Weibo post topped 50,000 (and it’s been reposted more than 750,000 times), dwarfing Dior’s average Weibo engagement.

“Shocking!” wrote “William sabixi” on Weibo. “Why did Dior decide to destroy its high-end public image?”

Another commenter, “BETTERemma,” wrote: “Does Dior really believe Angelababy can boost its sales? The brand should really do more market research when making decisions like this one.”

The Controversy Stems from Claims of Plastic Surgery

The discontent by the Chinese online community with Yang’s new role at Dior stems in part from the controversy surrounding reports that she had had plastic surgery.

In 2012, Ruili, a beauty clinic in Beijing, published an article on its website claiming Yang had had plastic surgery. Yang sued the clinic for defamation and the case dragged on in court for several years, resulting in a bizarre public examination of the actress’s face at a plastic surgery hospital in Beijing. The hospital’s chief claimed her looks were authentic, saying, according to the BBC, “Baby’s entire head and facial bones do not have any signs of incisions.”

Critics also contend that Yang, who rose to fame in 2014 on the reality television show Hurry Up, Brother and who started a venture capital fund (AB Capital) for investments in women’s lifestyle start-ups, pales in comparison to the brand’s roster of previous international ambassadors, including A-list Hollywood celebrities Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman.

Dior has worked closely with another Chinese address Liu Yifei in the past, which has aroused the curiosity among Chinese people why Liu was not chosen as the brand’s ambassador.

Some consumers have even pledged to stop purchasing Dior products as a result of Yang’s appointment.

“It’s time for me to say goodbye to the brand that I’ve loved for more than 10 years,” said one commenter.

The Brand’s Response, or Lack Thereof

So far, the brand has been mum over the fierce reactions online and Dior representatives have not responded to a request for comment from this site. Since that initial announcement, there have also been no further posts about Yang on the official account, which has featured instead several commercials with the supermodel Bella Hadid.

The hubbub is similar to one experienced years ago by another French luxury brand, Chanel, when it appointed Hong Kong-born American singer Coco Lee as its regional ambassador. Consumers in Hong Kong at the time thought Lee’s public image was too disgraceful to represent the brand. The furor caused Chanel to finally end its relationship with Lee. Swiss watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre’s recent collaboration with sensational online blogger Papi Jiang met with similar criticism.

But other collaborations of this kind have fared better with young Chinese audiences. Burberry’s collaboration with Chinese-born Canadian boy band star Kris Wu was popular as was singer Luhan as the face of Cartier.

The announcement of the arrangement with Yang came just days after luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessey bought out minority shareholders at Christian Dior for $13 billion.

– By Yiling (Sienna) Pan for @JingDaily

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Yiling (Sienna) Pan is a Luxury Business and Fashion Reporter at Jing Daily. She revels in the challenge of working in a fast-paced environment and presenting Chinese consumer trends to Western readers. Her coverage of the Chinese luxury industry combines a native perspective with her background in finance. Yiling is an alumnus of Thomson Reuters News Agency in Shanghai and she holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University.

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Weibo Shuts Down Rumors of Tong Liya’s Alleged Marriage to CMG President Shen Haixiong

The censorship surrounding the Tong Liya story almost drew more attention than the actual rumors themselves.

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The famous actress and dancer Tong Liya (佟丽娅, 1983) has had an eventful year. After hosting the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in 2020, she performed at the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in February of 2021 and in May she announced that after seven years of marriage, she finalized her divorce with actor and director Chen Sicheng (陈思诚).

Tong Liya is of Xibe ethnicity and was born in Xinjiang. The former beauty pageant and award-winning actress is known for her roles in many films and TV series, such as those in The Queens and Beijing Love Story. She also starred in the 2021 Chinese historical film 1921, which focuses on the founding of the Communist Party of China.

This month, online rumors about Tong flooded the internet, alleging that she was recently remarried to Shen Haixiong (慎海雄, 1967), the deputy minister of the Party’s Central Propaganda Department and the President of the CMG (China Media Group), which includes CCTV, China National Radio, and China Radio International.

Some of the rumors included those claiming the actress was previously Shen’s mistress, or netizens connecting Tong Liya’s relations with such an influential and powerful person to her role at the previous CCTV Spring Gala Festival.

But these rumors did not stay online for long, and the quick censorship itself became somewhat of a spectacle. As reported by China Digital Times, the topic ‘Tong Liya’s Remarriage’ (‘佟丽娅再婚’) was completely taken offline.

Following the rumors and censorship, it first was announced that Tong reported the online rumors about her to the police, with the hashtag “Tong Liya Reports the Case to Authorities” (#佟丽娅报案#) receiving over 310 million clicks. On December 23rd, the hashtag “Beijing Police is Handling Tong Liya’s Report” (#北京警方受理佟丽娅报案#) went viral online, attracting over 1.7 billion (!) views on Weibo within three days.

The Beijing Haidian police statement on Weibo is as follows:

In response to the recent rumors on the Internet, the public security authorities have accepted Tong Liya’s report, and the case is now under investigation. The internet is not a place beyond the law, and illegal acts such as starting rumors and provoking trouble will be investigated and punished according to the law.”

The statement led to some confused responses among netizens who wanted to know more about what was actually reported and what it is the police are exactly ‘investigating.’

On Twitter, Vice reporter Viola Zhou wrote that the censorship “angered many young people,” some of whom lost their social media accounts for discussing Tong Liya’s second marriage: “It’s now prompting a mass pushback against the potential abuse of censorship power.”

In an attempt to circumvent censorship, and perhaps also ridicule it, some netizens even resorted to morse code to write about Tong Liya.

One Weibo post about the issue by Legal Daily received over 3000 comments, yet none were displayed at the time of writing.

The case is allegedly still being investigated by Beijing authorities.

By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Miranda Barnes.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China’s Livestreaming Queen Viya Goes Viral for Fraud and Fines, Ordered to Pay $210 Million

Viya, the Queen of Taobao, is under fire for tax evasion.

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Viya, one of China’s most well-known and successful live streamers, is trending today for allegedly committing tax fraud by deliberately providing false information and concealing personal income.

The ‘Taobao queen’ Viya (薇娅, real name Huang Wei 黄薇) reportedly committed tax fraud from 2019 to 2020, during which she evaded some 643 million yuan ($100 million) in taxes and also failed to pay an additional 60 million yuan ($9.4 million) in taxes.

The Hangzhou Tax Administration Office reportedly ordered Viya to pay an amount of over 1.3 billion yuan ($210 million) in taxes, late payment fees, and other fines. On Monday, a hashtag related to the issue had garnered over 600 million views on Weibo (#薇娅偷逃税被追缴并处罚款13.41亿元#).

Viya made headlines in English-language media earlier this year when she participated in a promotional event for Single’s Day on October 20th and managed to sell 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) in merchandise in just one live streaming session together with e-commerce superstar Lipstick King.

China has a booming livestreaming e-commerce market, and Viya is one of the top influencers to have joined the thriving online sales industry years ago. When the e-commerce platform Taobao started their Taobao Live initiative (mixing online sales with livestreams), Viya became one of their top sellers as millions of viewers starting joining her channel every single day (she livestreams daily at 7.30 pm).

With news about Viya’s tax fraud practices and enormous fines going viral on Chinese social media, many are attacking the top influencer, as her tax fraud case seems to be even bigger than that of Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (范冰冰).

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing went “missing” for months back in 2018 when she was at the center of a tax evasion scandal. The actress was ordered to pay taxes and fines worth hundreds of millions of yuan over tax evasion. The famous actress eventually paid approximately $128,5 million in taxes and fines, less than Viya was ordered to pay this month.

Like Fan Bingbing, Viya will also not be held criminally liable if the total amount is paid in time. This was the first time for the e-commerce star to be “administratively punished” for tax evasion.

Around 5pm on Monday, Viya posted a public apology on her Weibo account, saying she takes on full responsibility for the errors she made: “I was wrong, and I will bear all the consequences for my mistakes. I’m so sorry!”

It is not clear if she will still do her daily live stream later today and how this news will impact Viya’s future career.

Update: Vaya’s live stream was canceled.

Update 2: Vaya’s husband also issued an apology on Weibo.

Update 3: Taobao has suspended or ‘frozen’ (“冻结”) Vaya’s livestreaming channel. Her Taobao store is still online.

By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Miranda Barnes.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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