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Dhaka Tribune

Chinese stars hit with $1.62 billion in 'cold winter' tax crackdown

The most famous star to get caught up in the campaign was actor Fan Bingbing who has 62 million online followers

Update : 22 Jan 2019, 09:49 PM

Chinese authorities have collected more than 11 billion yuan ($1.62 billion) in unpaid taxes from celebrities and entertainment companies since they hit the industry with a crackdown, state media Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Xinhua, citing the national tax bureau and content watchdog, said the campaign, which began in October, had ended, and companies and workers had been ordered to correct their tax records.

The most famous star to get caught up in the campaign was actor Fan Bingbing who has 62 million online followers. She was ordered to pay about $129 million in overdue taxes and fines in October, after a four-month disappearance from the public eye, Xihua reported earlier.

Fan issued an apology after being ordered to pay up, saying she accepted the decision, would overcome “all difficulties” to pay the penalties, and would step up supervision of her companies.

Industry insiders have lamented that a “cold winter” has descended on the business since authorities launched the checks, with film projects stalling and investors selling off related company shares.

Huayi Brothers Media Corp, a company linked to Fan Bingbing, has seen its share price halved since last year, while box office revenue growth in the world’s second-largest film market after the United States, slowed last year.

Authorities said the industry should set its mind at rest and focus on work, but added that it would continue to target companies and individuals deemed highly exposed to tax-related risks.

Industry workers should “practice socialist core values ... and strive to be entertainment workers with belief, empathy, and sense of responsibility in the new era”, authorities said, according to Xinhua.

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