Forbes has released its list of the Top 10 Chinese celebrities, which surveys the who’s who of China to rank them based on personal income, public influence, internet reach and commercial value.
Thanks to Olympics fervor, sports stars were especially represented this year, with four of the five top spots belonging to athletes. The rankings and Forbes’ reasonings below:
1.姚明 Yao Ming (Basketball)
Yao ranked No. 1 on our list for the sixth consecutive time, bolstered by exposure from the Olympics and a bevy of endorsement deals that included Visa and McDonald’s. On the basketball court, the seven-and-a-half-footer led China’s squad to finish among the final eight teams.
2.章子怡 Zhang Ziyi (Acting)
Actress Zhang Ziyi, 30, ranked No. 2 in part because of her success in Forever Enthralled, a tribute to opera singer Mei Lanfang directed by heavyweight Chen Kaige. But she also attracted attention because of her romantic ties to Vivi Nevo, the low-profile Israeli media and entertainment industry investor.
3.易建联 Yi Jianlian (Basketball)
Another Olympic basketball team member and NBA star, New York Nets forward Yi Jianlian, ranked No. 3, up from No. 4 last year. Off the court, he added to his fame with appearances in ads for Nike and McDonald’s.
4.郭晶晶 Guo Jingjing (Diving)
Two gold-medal performances propelled 27-year-old Olympics star Guo Jingjing to No. 4 from No. 28 last year. Guo won gold on her own in the women’s springboard, and, with Wu Minxia, another in the women’s synchronized springboard. She has appeared in advertisements for Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Avon.
5.刘翔 Liu Xiang (Sprinting)
Sprinter Liu Xiang, who shocked Chinese when he pulled out of the games due to a leg injury, still managed to come in at No. 5 on our newest list, down from No. 2 last year. Liu, 25, has been in the news for traveling to the U.S. for surgery.
6.李连杰 Jet Li (Acting)
Beijing-born actor Jet Li, who slipped three notches to rank No. 6 this year, is best known for Chinese-language films such as Hero and The Warlords, but he made his biggest mark last year promoting charity. Li’s One Foundation, founded in 2007, has emerged as an up-and-coming force in Chinese philanthropy with efforts in disaster relief.
7.赵薇 Zhao Wei (Acting)
Zhao Wei, who also goes by the name Vicki Zhao, ranked No. 7 in part from exposure from the epic “Red Cliff” series set in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and directed by Hong Kong-American John Woo.
8.范冰冰 Fan Bingbing (Acting)
Fan Bingbing ranked No. 8, down two spots from last year, but gained publicity from Flash Point, a bloody martial arts movie, and Tao Hua Yun, a light romantic comedy… She has also appeared in ads for Olay cosmetics.
9.周迅 Zhou Xun (Acting)
Zhou Xun slipped a notch to No. 9 this year but appeared in the film Wa Pei (Hua Pi), which, according to one description, ”follows the love-hate relationship between a vixen spirit and a group of humans.”… Zhou’s endorsements over the years have included Olay cosmetics and Motorola
10.李冰冰 Li Bingbing (Acting)
Li Bingbing, 33, appeared with Jet Li and Jackie Chan in last year’s The Forbidden Kingdom. The Harbin native graduated from the Shanghai Drama Institute. Endorsements include Olay cosmetics.