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20 Most Powerful Chinese Celebrities – Part 4

Mon, Apr 20, 2009

Chinese Culture, World Culture

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In part 1, part 2, and part 3 of our 4 part series we looked at the most powerful Chinese celebrities ranked from 20 to 6.  Instead of just listing a simple one line description of these celebrities like the Forbes article China’s 25 Most Powerful Celebrities does, we were inspired to look a little more in-depth into who these celebrities are.  Today in our final part we’ll look at the top 5 most power Chinese celebrities ranked.   You probably have heard of these people, but maybe you’ll learn something new.

5. Zhang Ziyi

zhang-ziyi-profileBest Known For: Being the crazy woman in Crouch Tiger Hidden Dragon and as well as for her roles in Memoirs of a Geisha and Rush Hour 2…

Basic Info: Chinese name is 章子怡 (Zhāng Zǐyí).  She is currently 30 years old (birthday is February 9, 1979) and was born in Beijing, China.  At the the age 19 she was offered her first role in the award winning Chinese film The Road Home.  From there her star continued to rise.  In addition to acting she also has dabbled in singing where she sang a few tracks for the House of Flying Daggers soundtrack.  Had she never gone into acting she saud sge would have liked to have been a kindergarten teacher (since she “loves children”).  She is currently engaged to a multi-millionaire venture capitalist, Vivi Nevo.  In 2007 she made $8 Million.

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4.  Yi Jianlian

yi-jianlian-profileBest Known For: Being the other tall Chinese NBA basketball player for the New Jersey Nets…

Basic Info: Chinese name is 易建聯 (Yì Jiànlián).  His age is currently disputed, but “officially” it is 21 (birthday is October 27, 1987) and he was born in Guandong (Canton), China.  In addition to speaking Mandarin he also speaks Cantonese.  He was drafted in 2007 by the Milwaukee Bucks, but then in 2008 he was traded to the New Jersey Nets.  He is also quite tall standing at 7 feet tall.  His parents instead of being professional basketball players were actually professional handball players.  2007 was a good year for him as he made $4.2 Million.

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3.  Jet Li

jet-li-profileBest Known For: His martial arts skills and starring in Romeo Must Die and Lethal Weapon 4.

Basic Info: Chinese name is 李連杰 (Lǐ Liánjié).  He is currently 45 years old (birthday is April 26, 1963) and was born in Beijing, China.  He started out as a member of the Beijing Wush Team (a martial arts team) where he won several championships.  He also was part of the Chinese delegation that visited the United States in 1974 and took part in a 2 man fight performance on the lawn of the White House for President Nixon.  Why the name “Jet”?   A PR firm decided that his career was starting to take off…like a jet.  His launch has been financially rewarding making him $35 Million in 2007.

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2.  Liu Xiang

liu-xiang-profileBest Known For: First Chinese person to win a gold medal in a track and field event (110 meter hurdles in 2004 Athen Olympics).

Basic Info: Chinese name is 劉翔 (Liú Xiáng).  He is currently 25 years old (birthday is July 13, 1983) and was born in Shanghai, China.  In addition to be being an Olympic champion he also is a World Record Holder and World Champion.  At 6 feet 2 inches he is taller than most hurdlers and has had to adjust his running style to accommodate his height.  His popularity has soared due to his accomplishments to which even himself he has remarked that “I am a Chinese…and considering the physiology of the Chinese people, it is something unbelievable.”  Popularity has translated into dollars and in 2007 he made $23.8 Million.

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1.  Yao Ming

yao-ming-profileBest Known For: Being the extremely tall Chinese center for the Houston Rockets.

Basic Info: Chinese name is 姚明 (Yáo Míng).  He is currently 28 years old (birthday is September 12, 1980) and was born in Shanghai, China.   At 7 feet 6 inches he is among China’s most recognized celebrities.  Both of his parents were professional basketball players.  When Yao was born he weighed more than twice the weight of an average baby (11 lbs) and by age 10 he was already 5 feet 5 inches tall.  In his first year of playing for the Houston Rockets Charles Barkley stated that he didn’t believe Yao would score more than 19 points in any game.  A few months later Yao scored 20 points in a game against the Lakers.  In 2007 he made $56.6 Million.

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