China’s movie star and social media influencer Fan Bingbing (“范冰冰”) is being investigated by Chinese authorities on suspicions of tax evasion. Luxury houses like Guerlain, De Beers, and Montblanc that have appointed Fan as their brand ambassador are cautiously observing the possible impact on their businesses, with all of them stopping engaging with Fan on social media.
As one of the most well-known Chinese celebrities around the world who starred in Hollywood movies like Iron Man 3 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fan Bingbing was called out in early June by Cui Yongyuan, a controversial Chinese talk show host, who charged she was using a so-called “yin-yang” dual contract system to underpay taxes on her film earnings.
The system is known to be commonplace among film companies in China. It entails the celebrity signing two different contracts, with one showing the real amount of the payment while the other one shows a lesser amount of payment to be reported to the Chinese tax authorities.