R3 Nov: Will Actress Yang Zi’s Onscreen Popularity Translate to Commercial Success?

Yang Zi has been dominating the celebrity rankin list this year thanks to multiple TV shows she’s starring in. The 27-year-old actress is not a new face to the mainstream Chinese audiences. She began her career at 12 in a popular family TV show. After that, however, her transition from child star to budding actress was difficult, but in 2018, her career took off once again thanks to several romcom shows she landed that went viral.

R3 November celebrity list. Courtesy photo.

In the shows, Yang portrays likable girl-next-door characters. Her male leads have also seen a boost in popularity due to working with Yang. Netizens joked that Yang Zi is like the trendy fashion brand Supreme — whoever she works with immediately receives a huge boost in popularity. For example, actors Wang Luo, Li Xian, and Ma Tianyu were all snapped by different fashion and beauty labels as brand ambassadors. Li Xian, who plays Yang Zi’s romantic interest in the TV show Go Go Squid, was dubbed boyfriend Xian by his fans and has garnered a large female fan base who are willing to devote their support with money. Now, Yang Zi has two TV shows currently in production. One with actor Li Xian (no.1 on R3 Nov list) and the other with singer Kris Wu (No.12), but both show have already built much hype and frequently hits on Weibo’s trending list.

Yang has differentiated herself from other popular actresses like Yang Mi and Angelababy, whose commercial success in fashion has overshadowed their acting careers. However, her onscreen popularity and wide spread fan base has yet to be recognized by luxury brands. Rather, her name has been associated with several lower-priced brands. As the global spokesperson for Fossil and the ambassador for the cosmetics brand Benefit, Yang Zi was spotted at a Marc Jacobs’ event in Beijing, in July, but she hasn’t made much presences at other luxury brands events.

“Yang Zi’s popularity is mostly tied with the TV shows on which she is casted,” commented Sabrina Lee, Managing Director of R3 in China, “Whether this kind of popularity will transform into selling power and brand building ability is another issue for marketers altogether. Savvy consumers and luxury brands may need more time to assess her influence and impact in fashion.”

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