Athletes, actors top Forbes China list

Yao Ming tops list again followed by Zhang Ziyi

BEIJING -- Topped once again by Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, Forbes annual list of China's top 25 celebrities in terms of media coverage and wealth was split almost down the middle by stars from the entertainment industry and sports figures.

Forbes China Celebrity List ranked Yao ranked No. 1 for a sixth year in a row -- no surprise after the 7-foot-6 center carried the national flag into the Olympics in Beijing last summer -- while actress Zhang Ziyi ("Forever Enthralled") claimed the No. 2 spot.

The list, published Wednesday, does not include celebrities from Hong Kong and Taiwan, such as Jackie Chan and Jay Chou.

New York Nets forward Yi Jianlian, ranked No. 3, up from No. 4 last year, and 27-year-old Olympic gymnast Guo Jingjing rose to No. 4 from No. 28 after winning two gold medals and appearing in ads for Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Avon.

Sprinter Liu Xiang, who shocked China by exiting the games after a leg injury, still managed to come in at No. 5, falling from No. 2 last year.

Movie stars made up the rest of the 10, with Beijing-born actor and philanthropist Jet Li landing at No. 6, down three spots from last year. In January, Li attended the Davos forum and sat on a philanthropy roundtable with Bill Gates and others.

Coming in at No. 7 was actress and singer Zhao Wei, who was bolstered by her exposure from John Woo's "Red Cliff" epics. Actress Fan Bingbing ranked No. 8, down two spots, but gained notice for her role in the martial arts movie "Flash Point." She has appeared in ads for Olay cosmetics, one of the most advertised products on Chinese television.

Actress-singer Zhou Xun ranked No. 9, down one this year, while actress Li Bingbing, who appeared with Jet Li and Jackie Chan in last year's "The Forbidden Kingdom," rounded out the top 10.