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Head and shoulders above rest
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The basketball star Yao Ming topped the Forbes list of Chinese celebrities for the fifth time, staying top of this year's list, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

Yao, who earned 387.8 million yuan (about $54.6 million), leads the list both in earnings and influence.

In Olympics-mad China, the biggest winners must be the athletes, said Yang Linran, one of the people responsible for producing the list.

The average position of sports stars ranks six places higher compared to last year, which shows the potential of the Chinese sports industry, Yang said.

The film director Zhang Yimou drops from last year's third place to 23rd, while film star Zhang Ziyi (pictured) drops one from fourth to fifth.

Since its inception in 2004 The Forbes' Chinese celebrity List has ranked China's actors, actresses, singers and athletes according to their press coverage, web hits and commercial value in the previous year.

(China Daily March 13, 2008)

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