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Basketball star still China's top celebrity

BASKETBALL star Yao Ming remains China's top celebrity, leading the Forbes China Celebrity List for the sixth year.

The 2009 list was released in the March issue of Forbes China, the Chinese-language edition of Forbes magazine. It surveyed the incomes and popularity of leading figures in film, sports, media, music and publishing.

All those considered were born and raised on Chinese mainland. The China list is modeled on Forbes' annual Celebrity 100 list.

Yao topped both the income and popularity sectors with an income of 357.77 million yuan (US$52.34 million) last year.

Though income is the biggest single factor in compiling the list, media coverage and Web hits within China also figure prominently.

Actress Zhang Ziyi now ranks No. 2 overall - she was No. 5 last year.

Basketball player Yi Jianlian rose up one place to third.

Most of the top 10 celebrities are the same as last year's except for Guo Jingjing.

The Olympic diving gold medalist rose to No. 4 from last year's No. 28.

Comedian Zhao Benshan slipped out of the top 10 to 15th place.

Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang slipped from second to No. 5.

His withdrawal from the Beijing Olympics is thought to have dampened his commercial value.

After Liu on the list came the movie action star Jet Li and the actresses Zhao Wei, Fan Bingbing, Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing.


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