Top 10 Chinese Actors to Watch in 2023

EnStar is a valuable resource in the entertainment industry, providing insights into an artist’s commercial value based on factors such as popularity and marketing power. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Chinese actors according to this data. Here’s who to watch in 2023:

10. REN Jialun

Born in 1989, Ren’s talent was apparent even as a child. At the age of 13, he was selected to play table tennis for the Shandong provincial team before retiring three years later due to an injury. In 2016, he debuted in the Chinese fantasy TV series “Nobel Aspirations” (Qing Yun Zhi) alongside leading actor Li Yifeng. Ren’s fame grew with the 2017 historical drama series “The Glory of Tang Dynasty,” in which he played the passionate king of Quang Binh. Ren consecutively appeared on the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in 2021 and 2022, receiving recognition from mainstream media.

9. ZHOU Shen

Zhou Shen is a Chinese singer renowned for his ethereal voice and impressive vocal range, including the ability to sing soprano. Born in 1992, Zhou graduated from the Lviv National Music Academy in Ukraine, specializing in Bel Canto. He has collaborated with a number of prestigious films, notably lending his voice to the theme song  “Big Fish” for the animated film “Big Fish & Begonia.” In 2018, he was invited to perform the Chinese promotional song for the Academy Award-winning film “The Shape of Water.” 

According to Tencent Music’s mid-year review in 2022, Zhou Shen holds the record for the most hit singles and the highest recommendation frequency on the platform. In January 2023, his songs “My Only” and “Thoughts of Returning” became Tencent Music’s longest-charting tracks.

8. WANG Junkai

Wang Junkai, popularly known as Karry Wang, is a multi-talented Gen-Z singer and actor. He made his official debut as the leader of TFBOYS in 2013 when he was just 13 years old, alongside Roy Wang and Jackson Yee. A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, Wang has also showcased his acting skills in several notable films. He took on the lead role in “Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki” (2017) and “Home Coming” (2022). In 2022, he was named the brand ambassador for the prestigious Swiss luxury jewelry brand, Piaget.

Relevant reading: Dior Names Wang Junkai their New Brand Ambassador in China & More

7. WANG Hedi 

Wang Hedi, widely known as Dylan Wang, gained international recognition for his breakout role as Daoming Si in the 2018 television series “Meteor Garden.” He also made a mark with his notable performance in “Love Between Fairy and Devil,” where he portrayed the formidable Lord Devil alongside popular Chinese actress Esther Yu. The series aired on iQiyi in 2022 and  topped the global ranking across the streaming service’s 191 territories. 

On his 24th birthday in 2022, Wang introduced his own clothing brand concept through a live broadcast on Weibo and announced the establishment of his personal brand, D.Desirable.

6. FAN Chengcheng

Fan Chengcheng, formerly a member of the Chinese boy group Nine Percent and currently a member of Yuehua’s NEXT, has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry. He was honored as the “Annual Rising Star” at the Sina Weibo Movie Night Awards in 2022. In 2023, he showcased his acting skills in the films “To Be Continued” and “Godspeed,” and joined the cast of the popular Chinese variety show “Keep Running.” Fan is the younger brother of Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and a brand spokesperson for Givenchy. 

Relevant reading: How Luxury Brands Prosper From China’s Scary C-pop Fans

5. Jackson Yee

Jackson Yee, an accomplished Chinese actor and singer born in 2000, rose to fame in 2013 as a member of TFBOYS. The group gained widespread recognition in 2014 with their hit song “Manual of Youth.” In 2020, Yee garnered critical acclaim for his performance in the film “Better Days,” earning accolades such as Best New Performer at the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards and Best Newcomer at the 35th Hundred Flowers Awards. Following his graduation from the Central Academy of Drama, he starred in the mainland Chinese historical war film “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” which topped the global box office in 2021. 

Additionally, Yee claimed the top spot on the 2021 Forbes China Celebrity 100 list. The same year, he was appointed as the new global makeup and skin care ambassador for Armani Beauty.

Relevant reading: How Has Jaeger-LeCoultre Localized Heritage Storytelling In China?

4. GONG Jun

Gong Jun first gained attention for his role in the drama series “Lost Love in Times” (2017) and further rose to prominence with his notable performance in the romantic comedy-drama “Begin Again” (2020). In February 2021, he starred in the boys’ love drama “Word of Honor,” which achieved widespread acclaim and was later picked up by Netflix.

In 2022, Gong Jun attended the 25th Anniversary Gentle Gala, hosted by Esquire and received the “Annual Commercial Value Artist” award. The same year, he was honored as the “Most Anticipated Actor of the Year” at the 2022 Weibo Night ceremony. In 2023, Gong Jun was invited by L’Oréal Paris to participate in the 76th Cannes International Film Festival.

Relevant reading: Charlotte Tilbury Announces Gong Jun As Global Ambassador

3. HOU Minghao

Born in 1997, Hou Minghao joined the Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment (which represents K-pop artists such as EXO and NCT) and became a trainee at the age of 15. In 2014, he officially debuted as a member of the group “Fresh Geeks” and released his first album with them, “UP 4 U.” In March 2017, he portrayed the highly intelligent teenage prodigy Tang Chuan in the suspense film “The Devotion of Suspect X” and subsequently appeared in several mystery web dramas. In 2023, he gained significant attention for his role as the male lead in the historical melodrama series “Back from the Brink,” alongside co-star Zhou Ye, which premiered on Youku Video.

2. WANG Yibo

Wang Yibo was one of the most popular actors in China in 2020. Like many other stars on this list, Wang is also a singer and dancer. He made his debut in the entertainment industry in 2014 as a member of the South Korean-Chinese boy band Uniq and is fluent in both Chinese and Korean. Before his breakout role on the historical fantasy drama series “The Untamed” in 2019, Wang had served as a host on the variety TV show “Day Day Up” since 2016.

In 2023, Wang starred in two films released during the May Day holiday season. One was a spy war film titled “Nameless,” where he collaborated with renowned actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai, and the other was an action movie about Chinese fighter pilots titled “King of the Sky.” Wang is one of the most sought-after brand ambassadors in China, representing brands like Ugg, Anta, Moncler, and Swarovski, to name a few.

Relevant reading: From Jackson Wang, To Wang Yibo: How K-Pop’s Chinese Stars Become China’s Favorite Brand Ambassadors

1. XIAO Zhan

Xiao Zhan (Sean Xiao) has long ranked in the top three of EnStar’s list. He began his career as a member of the Chinese boy band X Nine and then became a household name in China by starring in the hit series “The Untamed” with Wang Yibo. The show’s availability on Netflix further propelled Xiao’s recognition on a global scale.

In 2022, Xiao portrayed the role of the aloof physician Gu Wei in the TV series “The Oath of Love,” earning him the top spot on the 2022 Character Index Chart for Chinese TV dramas. With his global popularity, Xiao serves as a brand ambassador of Gucci, a brand spokesperson for L’Oréal Pro, and a global skincare ambassador for YSL.

Relevant reading: Cai Xukun At Prada, Xiaozhan At Tod’s: Chinese Stars, Designers, Influencers Pack A Punch At Milan Fashion Week


–  Sources: EnStar, Wikipedia, Baidu, Fandom, Rakuten Viki and MyDreamList

Continue to read “Top 10 Chinese Actresses to Watch in 2023” here