Chinese singer-actor Jackson Yee tops Forbes China Celebrity List for second straight year

Jackson Yee snagged the top position last year thanks to the romantic crime thriller Better Days, which won him him several awards and nominations. PHOTO: JACKSON YEE/WEIBO

BEIJING - Singer-actor Jackson Yee has topped the Forbes China Celebrity List for the second year running, while actor Wang Yibo came in second and actress Jia Ling made a big leap from 93rd last year to third this year after a wildly successful directorial debut.

Yee, 20, snagged the top position last year thanks to the critically-acclaimed romantic crime thriller Better Days (2019), which won him him several awards and nominations, including the Best Newcomer awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Asian Film Awards last year.

Yee, a member of Chinese boyband TFBoys, followed up Better Days with two well-received movies - A Little Red Flower (2020), in which he plays a teenager suffering from cancer, and Korean War epic The Battle At Lake Changjin, which also stars Chinese action star Wu Jing and is directed by Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark and Dante Lam.

The Forbes list ranks Chinese celebrities based on factors such as their commercial value or exposure in the media.

Wang, 24, who is ranked second, made his debut as a member of the South Korean-Chinese boyband Uniq in 2014. He has acted in popular TV series such as the The Untamed (2019), My Strange Friend (2020) and Legend Of Fei (2020 to 2021).

Jia, 39, is the director behind tear-jerking drama-comedy Hi, Mom (2021), which is inspired by her late mother.

The movie was the second highest-grossing movie in China after the action blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2 (2017) and highest-grossing movie ever by a female director, beating American director Patty Jenkin's Wonder Woman (2017).

In fourth place is Chinese actress Yang Mi, 34, who has appeared in several Chinese variety shows, TV serials and movies, including TV serial Storm Eye (2021) and movie A Writer's Odyssey (2021).

Taiwanese singer Jay Chou, 42, whom Forbes says is an "evergreen" in the music industry, is ranked fifth. Chou, who has not released an album since 2016, teased fans on Instagram recently by saying he had two songs completed and had also filmed the music videos.

Rounding up the top 10 are Chinese singer-actor Lay Zhang (sixth), actress Zhao Liying (seventh), actress Yang Zi (eighth), singer-actor Karry Wang (ninth) and Hong Kong singer Jackson Wang (10th).

According to Forbes, 44 people on the list are born after 1990, reflecting the rise of a younger generation of celebrities.

There are 18 new faces on the list, with two more female newcomers than their male counterparts. However, Forbes noted that it is easier for men to gain fame, with them earning more than the female celebrities.

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