Monday, March 23, 2009

Forbes names Yao Ming China's biggest celebrity...again

Every March Forbes magazine publishes its list of mainland China's top ten celebrities, and this year, for the sixth year in a row, Houston Rockets basketball star Yao Ming was ranked number one. The magazine compiles its ratings based on a combination of press coverage, commercial value and web hits.

Athletes fill four of the top five positions, reflecting no doubt sport's global appeal unhindered by cultural or language barriers. The only non-athlete in the top five was film star Zhang Ziyi at number two. Another NBA basketballer Yi Jianlian, who used to play for the Milwaukee Bucks but now plays for a New York team which I'm too lazy to google, came in third, Olympic diving queen Guo Jingjing was next, followed by track star Liu Xiang.

The bottom half of the top ten are all actors. Jet Li, a familiar name in the West, came in at number six, followed by four female stars. Zhao Wei, Fan Bingbing and Li Bingbing were amongst the seven "shining stars" listed in a China Radio International web article last month, while Zhou Xun was in a string of well-received movies last year including Painted Skin and The Equation of Love and Death.

Forbes confines its rankings to those born on the mainland, so no Jackie Chan (born in Hong Kong) or Taiwan's Jay Chou.

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