Kobe Bryant was the only foreign celebrity to make the top thirty ranking, coming in eighth. Other prominent personalities within the top 10 were Andy Lau, Faye Wong, Jet Li, Leehom Wang, Jacky Cheung and Jay Chou.
However, the calculated value of the top two stars was significantly higher than the others. Both Yao and Liu received a value rating of more than 130, while Chan was valued at 68.
Sunny Chen, a senior researcher at the company, attributed Yao’s popularity to his perceived prowess as a sports person, his “strong moral values” and active participation in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Chen added that Liu was seen as “a passionate star” driving “strong brand linkage” for sponsors Coca-Cola and Nike as a result of a strong performance at last year’s Asian Games. Liu moves up the rankings to second place from fifth in the last wave of the study three months ago.
Chen listed entertainer Ge Chou, who enters the rankings in twelfth place, tennis player Li Na and badminton player Lin Dan as figures to watch over the coming months.
The study canvassed around 10,500 people aged 15 to 40 across 10 Chinese cities on three key factors, including preference and spontaneous recall, engagement and linkage with brand or media assets and shared values with consumers. It is conducted every three months.