Yao Ming topped the Forbes
list of Chinese celebrities again, while seven females dominated the top ten in the magazine's March issue released yesterday.
The annual Chinese Celebrities List's general ranking looks not only at stars' income, but also commercial value, influence, and headlines.
The Houston Rockets' star earned the top spot for the third straight year, the magazine's Chinese edition said on its website. Yao earned 260 million yuan (US$33.5 million) last year between his sports salary and various advertising engagements. He signed a five-year contract extension with NBA's Houston Rockets for a total of US$76 million in August.
Second on the list was Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Liu Xiang, who broke the 110-meter hurdles world record with a time of 12.88 seconds at a super grand prix meeting in Lausanne in July and made 58 million yuan (US$7.48 million) from advertising campaigns last year.
Zhang Yimou was the third, racking up 35 million yuan (US$4.51 million) last year. He directed Curse of the Golden Flower, the highest grossing movie of all time on the Chinese mainland and staged The First Emperor opera in New York. Recent rumor claims that Zhang actually made 100 million yuan (US$12.9 million) last year, but was denied profits by his assistant and movie company.
The female contingent in the Top 10 includes actresses Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, Zhou Xun, and Fan Bingbing, Super Girl Li Yuchun, director-actress-blogger Xu Jinglei and Hong Kong actress Carina Lau.
Even though Carina Lau is on the list, most Hong Kong and Taiwan stars, including big money makers like Jackie Chan and Andy Lau, were not considered by Forbes' editors. The list is mostly comprised of celebrities who were born on the mainland.
Piano genius Lang Lang, though at 22 in the general rankings, made 150 million yuan (US$19.36 million) last year, second only to Yao Ming. He performed over 150 concerts and became the voice for many international brands. Another surprising act is Chinese folk music group 12 Girls Band, who made 130 million yuan (US$16.78 million) from 50 concerts during a world tour last year. They have a general ranking of 37th, even though they place third in terms of income.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Rui, March 5, 2007)