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Yao Ming tops Forbes' China celebrity list
Updated: 2004-02-11 09:43

Basketball giant Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets is ranked first in Forbes' Chinese celebrity power rankings.

Yao Ming
Income in 2003 was the biggest single factor in compiling list of 100 personalities, which attempts to track the transfer of fame into fortune, while media coverage was also counted.

Yao had a pre-tax income of US$14.50 million, which is thought to come from his salary with the Rockets and endorsements with Nike, Apple Computer and Visa. He also had the most press coverage and the second highest number of Web hits, according to the Chinese edition of Forbes.

Zhang Ziyi
The poll is almost occupied exclusively at the top by actors, actresses and athletes.

Actres Zhang Ziyi, chosen for her starring roles in internationally-known movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, ranked second. Television nymphet Vicki Zhao Wei, working non-stop in television dramas, was third.

The prominent director Zhang Yi Mou is on the list at No.6, while film beauty Gong Li is fifth.

Hollywood martial arts dynamo Jet Li, Hong Kong pop diva Wang Fei and male crooner Leon Lai, also cracked the top ten on the 100-person list, unveiled at a ceremony in Beijing Tuesday.

Zhao Wei
"The immaturity of China's entertainment and sports industries has not prevented the country of 1.3 billion population from having its own celebrity stars," Forbes said in a news release.

Forbes, which began to publish in China last year, confined its list to stars born on the mainland "in view of the fact that the mainland's show business still lags behind Taiwan and Hong Kong," it said. But Chinese stars are doing better than before on the home front.

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