Forbes China Magazine released its annual 100 Chinese Celebrities List, which aims to measure China's most powerful stars. It uses a formula based on annual income, number of search engine hits, press coverage and magazine cover appearances. For the first time, the List has been extended to cover not just the mainland but Hong Kong and Taiwan as well. Which has meant a new number one, Hong Kong's action star Jackie Chan (成龙, pinyin: Chéng Lóng) muscling NBA basketballer Yao Ming (姚明) from the top position.
Jackie Chan earned his top position through his consistently high ranking across all four categories Forbes used to measure celebrity status. Chan was the second highest earning Chinese celebrity, and also number two in terms of press coverage. He was the fifth ranked for search engine hits, and seventh for magazine and TV appearances. Despite this, 2009 was a relatively quiet year for the actor: Shinjuku Incident was a moderate success, while The Spy Next Door, released at the beginning of 2010, was critically panned. However, his latest release, the historical action film Little Big Soldier, has been a big earner at the box office.
At number two on the List is Taiwan's superstar singer, actor, director and producer Jay Chou (周杰伦, pinyin: Zhōu Jiélún). The past twelve months haven't been a great period for Jay, with the much hyped TV series Panda Men failing to win an audience. There were also no record releases in that period, though his latest album, The Era, will be out this month. Despite the barren run, Forbes estimated he was China's third highest earner, and he also rated highly for internet searches and press coverage.
Another Hong Kong star, actor-singer Andy Lau (刘德华, pinyin: Liú Déhuá), was at number three. He was the sixth highest earning celebrity, but ranked number 2 and number 3 in terms of internet searches and press coverage. Unfortunately for Lau, most of that coverage was of the negative kind, when it was revealed that Andy was secretly married , after years of strenuous denials.
Yao Ming, at number four, was the highest ranking mainlander, as well as the highest earning celebrity (255 million yuan, or about US$37 million). Yao was also the number one in terms of newspaper coverage. Number one in magazine and TV coverage was mainland actress Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), although again not all of it would have been positive as she too endured a rocky past twelve months. Overall Forbes rated her number five on their list of powerful celebrities. The number ranked for internet searches was popular mainland comedian Xiao Shenyang (小沈阳), though overall he was well down on the list at number 30.
Another comedian, veteran performer Zhao Benshan (赵本山), was number 6 on the list, while Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai (蔡依林, pinyin: Cài Yīlín) made number 7. Two actors, Donnie Yen (甄子丹, pinyin: Zhēn Zǐdān) and Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) were number 8 and 10 respectively, while track star Liu Xiang (刘翔) came in at number 9.
The full list of all 100 celebrities can be found at the Forbes China website, but in Chinese.