Actress Fan Bingbing sparks dating rumour after meal with top influencer Austin Li

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (left) and influencer Austin Li.
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (left) and influencer Austin Li.PHOTOS: FAN BINBING/WEIBO, AUSTIN LI/WEIBO

SHANGHAI - Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who has been keeping a low profile since her tax evasion scandal erupted in 2018, has been spotted having a meal with top influencer Austin Li, sparking rumours that they are dating.

The 39-year-old star broke off her engagement to Chinese actor Li Chen in one of the most talked-about splits in 2019 and has been single since.

However, rumours of a new romance has not gone down well with Chinese netizens on Weibo, who think Austin Li, at 10 years her junior, is too young for her.

They also point out that while her show business career was on ice, Austin Li's was on the up and up.

Others speculate that it was just a meal to discuss business, as both their assistants were also present.

Also known as the Lipstick King for his record-breaking livestream sales, Austin Li makes millions every year from hawking all kinds of products online, such as cosmetics, kitchenware and snacks, with thousands of items often selling out within seconds.

With more than 40 million followers on Douyin, his popularity exceeds that of Fan on the Chinese version of TikTok. On Weibo though, he has fewer than half the number of fans compared to Fan's 64 million.

Famously private, the influencer had been rumoured in the past to be dating his long-time assistant, which he denied to news portal Sohu in 2020.

"I do 389 broadcasts in 365 days. I don't have time to eat or sleep, so do you think I have a personal life?"