Look no further, luxury brands searching for the next big China celebrity brand ambassador: a new Forbes list of the 100 most influential Chinese stars has placed mainland actress Fan Bingbing in the top slot this year.
The list, which was compiled based not just on each star’s income, but also on his or her overall influence, ranks 100 famous Chinese figures from the mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Following Iron Man 3 star Fan on the list were Hong Kong actor and singer Andy Lau in second and Taiwanese heartthrob pop star Jay Chou in third. Other notable names on the list include The Grandmaster and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi, tennis champion Li Na, martial arts legend Jacke Chan, and Tiny Times star Yang Mi.
Fan Bingbing has been a darling of top global luxury brands, which see her promotions as a prime source of profits. Her lucrative list of endorsements includes Louis Vuitton, L’Oreal, Chopard, Cartier, Mercedes-Benz, and Moët & Chandon. In January, Alibaba’s e-commerce site Taobao estimated that keyword searches for her name generated US$74 million (RMB450 million) in revenue for sellers on the site.
Many of the stars on the list have been tapped by foreign luxury brands for endorsements. Among some of the more notable marketing efforts have been Zhang Ziyi’s partnerships with Omega and Maybelline, Andy Lau’s short film for Cartier, Li Na’s endorsement deals with Rolex and Crown Casinos, Wang Leehom’s man-purse Coach ads, and Yang Mi’s high-profile wedding at Bulgari’s hotel in Bali. Jackie Chan isn’t slowing down with endorsement deals either: for the Beijing Auto Show last month, he lent his name to a special-edition Lamborghini model.
For some top luxury brands, it’s not just the level of fame, but how well a star’s image fits with the brand that serves as a main consideration in choosing a celebrity. For example, Chanel and L’Oreal have both enlisted viral pop star Li Yuchun for promotions, but she is nowhere to be found on the list of top 100 names.
According to income rankings on the Chinese-language version of the list, the most famous celebrities do not always equal the richest: Fan actually earns the fourth-highest income, coming after third-place Jay Chou, eighth-place Li Na, and 12th-place musical group Mayday.
Check out the list of the top 15 below, and head over to Forbes for the full 100:
1. Fan Bingbing, actress
2. Andy Lau, actor and singer
3. Jay Chou, singer and actor
4. Huang Xiaoming, actor
5. Zhang Ziyi, actress
6. Yang Mi, actress
7. Lin Chi-ling, actress
8. Li Na, athlete
9. Nicky Wu, actor
10. Jackie Chan, actor and director
11. Eason Chan, singer and actor
12. Mayday, musical group
13. Show Lo, singer and actor
14. Wang Leehom, singer and actor
15. Zhou Xun, actress