HomeTopicalTop 20+Most Popular Chinese Actors Of All Time (2024)

Top 20+Most Popular Chinese Actors Of All Time (2024)

China’s vibrant and diverse film industry has produced numerous exceptional talents over the years. With its top Chinese actors, it has captivated audiences worldwide with its unparalleled performances and skills.

From mesmerizing action stars to versatile dramatic actors, the Chinese film scene boasts a galaxy of stars that continue to shine on both domestic and international stages. 

In this article, we delve into the lives and careers of the top 20 Chinese actors, each leaving an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape.

Join us as we celebrate their remarkable journeys, exceptional artistry, and enduring contributions to the world of entertainment. From beloved veterans to rising stars, these actors represent the very best of Chinese cinema, leaving audiences enchanted and inspired by each unforgettable role they portray.

chinese actors
Chinese Actors

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Chinese Actors

These are the names of some prominent Chinese actors.

1. Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan is one of the most prominent Chinese actors in the entertainment industry, holding multiple titles as an actor, martial artist, film director, producer, and stuntman, earning widespread recognition in China and beyond.

His global fame is attributed to his groundbreaking stunts, gravity-defying fighting style, and impeccable comedic timing, which have left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide.

With an extensive career, Jackie Chan has contributed his talent to over 150 films as an actor, and he has also been involved in numerous Chinese film projects, displaying his expertise as a stunt director.

Among his numerous iconic works, standout films include “Drunken Master,” “Police Story” and its sequels, “Wheels on Meals,” “Armor of Gods,” “Rumble in The Bronx,” “Rush Hour” and its sequels, “Shanghai Noon,” “The Forbidden Kingdom,” “The Spy Next Door,” “The Karate Kid,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and many more, solidifying his status as a celebrated and cherished entertainer.

Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan

2. Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, a remarkable figure in martial arts and entertainment, held diverse roles as a Hong Kong-American martial artist, actor, director, screenwriter, and philosopher. Born in the USA during his parents’ visit for an opera performance, he later returned to Hong Kong.

Under the guidance of Ip Man, Bruce Lee commenced his martial arts journey, diligently learning disciplines such as Wing Chun, Tai-chi, Boxing, and Street Fighting, among others.

Drawing from his extensive training and philosophical insights, Bruce Lee masterfully crafted Jeet Kune Do, a martial art form that has been credited for laying the foundation for Mixed Martial Arts.

In the realm of classic Kung Fu Films, Bruce Lee’s extraordinary talent shone through in works like “The Big Boss,” “Fist of Fury,” “Way of the Dragon,” “Enter the Dragon,” “The Game of Death,” and more, solidifying his status as an enduring icon in martial arts cinema.

bruce lee
Bruce Lee

3. Jet Li

Jet Li, known professionally as Li Lianjie, is a multi-talented individual, excelling as a former Wushu champion, martial artist, actor, and film producer.

At the tender age of eight, Jet Li discovered his innate talent for Wushu and dedicated himself to its practice with unwavering determination.

Remarkably, by age 12, he participated in Wushu competitions and emerged victorious with numerous gold medals. Although a knee injury led him to retire from competitive Wushu, he remained involved as an assistant coach, passing on his expertise to others.

During this time, an opportunity presented itself for him to embark on a career in martial arts films. Jet Li’s most memorable roles include appearances in acclaimed works such as “Shaolin Temple” and its sequels, “Hero,” “Fist of Legend,” “Once Upon a Time in China” series, among others.

Expanding his reach to Hollywood, he showcased his talent in films like “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Romeo Must Die,” “Kiss of the Dragon,” “Unleashed,” “The One,” “War,” “The Forbidden Kingdom,” “The Expendables,” and many more, solidifying his status as a global martial arts and cinematic icon.

jet li
Jet Li

4. Tony Leung

Tony Leung Chiu-wai, a renowned figure in the entertainment industry, is an accomplished Hong Kong actor and singer. He is widely acknowledged as one of the Five Tiger Generals of TVB, who held significant influence over Hong Kong and Asian cinema for an extended period.

Despite facing challenges during his childhood, Tony Leung’s life took a transformative turn when he crossed paths with his longtime friend, Stephen Chow. Encouraged by Stephen Chow, he ventured into acting, attending classes at TVB and embarking on a fruitful career there.

Throughout his illustrious journey, Tony Leung has left an indelible mark with unforgettable performances in films like “Chungking Express,” “Happy Together,” “In the Mood for Love,” “2046,” “The Grandmaster,” “A City of Sadness,” “Cyclo,” “Lust, Caution,” “Hero,” “Infernal Affairs,” “Hard Boiled,” “Red Cliff,” and more, captivating audiences with his exceptional talent.

Recently, he graced the screen in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” adding another remarkable milestone to his portfolio.

Tony Leung’s outstanding work has garnered numerous accolades, including a prestigious Cannes Film Festival Award, seven Hong Kong Film Awards, three Golden Bauhinia Awards, three Golden Horse Awards, and various others, solidifying his status as a celebrated and award-winning artist.

Tony Leung
Tony Leung

5. Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen Ji-Dan, a versatile talent from Hong Kong, has left an indelible mark in the entertainment industry as an actor, martial artist, film director, producer, and martial arts choreographer. Renowned as one of Asia’s highest-paid actors, he holds the distinguished honour of introducing Mixed Martial Arts to the realm of Asian films.

Among his remarkable film roles, Donnie Yen is most notably recognized for his portrayal of Ip Man, a character that catapulted him to fame and popularity.

Through his captivating performances, he contributed to the popularity and recognition of Wing Chun in China. Donnie Yen’s involvement in all four “Ip Man” movies extended beyond acting, as he also served as the action director for these celebrated films.

In addition to his iconic role as Ip Man, Donnie Yen has displayed his prowess in various other prominent productions, including “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Mulan,” “Kung Fu Jungle,” “The Monkey King,” “Special ID,” “The Lost Bladesman,” “Dragon,” and “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen,” among others.

With his exceptional talent and diverse contributions to the film industry, Donnie Yen has solidified his place as a celebrated and revered figure in Asian cinema.

Donnie Yen
Donnie Yen

6. Jiang Wen

Jiang Wen, a highly esteemed figure in Chinese cinema, commands immense respect as an actor, director, and screenwriter. He achieved international recognition for his captivating performance alongside Gong Li in the acclaimed film “Red Sorghum.”

In 2016, Jiang Wen portrayed the memorable character Baze Malbus in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” further cementing his prominence on the global stage.

His presence in numerous critically acclaimed Chinese films, such as “Let The Bullets Fly,” “The Sun Also Rises,” “The Devils on The Doorstep,” “The Soong Sisters,” “In The Heat of The Sun,” “Hibiscus Town,” “A Woman For Two,” and more, has garnered widespread acclaim and accolades.

Throughout his illustrious career, Jiang Wen has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including two Hundred Flowers Awards, four Golden Horse Awards, two Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, and a Hong Kong Film Award, among others.

His exceptional talent and artistic contributions have solidified his status as a celebrated and esteemed figure in the realm of Chinese cinema.

Jiang Wen
Jiang Wen

7. Yang Yang

Yang Yang, a beloved and highly respected actor, honed his craft by studying drama at the prestigious Central Academy of Drama. In 2007, he soared to fame with his breakthrough role as the central character, Jia Baoyu, in the acclaimed television series “Dream of Red Mansions.”

This series stood as one of the most extravagant and costly productions ever made.

Following the resounding success of “Dream of Red Mansions,” Yang Yang’s talent and versatility led to numerous other noteworthy roles in projects such as “Founding of an Army,” “The Lost Tomb,” “The Whirlwind Girl,” “Love O2O,” “Martial Universe,” “The King’s Avatar,” “You Are My Glory,” “Who Rules The World,” “The Left Ear,” “I Belonged to You,” “Once Upon a Time,” and more.

With an impressive array of performances, Yang Yang has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide and continues to be celebrated for his exceptional acting abilities.

Yang Yang
Yang Yang

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8. Andy Lau

Andy Lau, a multi-talented figure hailing from Hong Kong, shines as an actor, singer, and producer, making him one of the most accomplished and prosperous individuals in the Hong Kong film industry.

Beginning his journey as a singer and songwriter with TVB, Andy Lau swiftly rose to prominence, earning recognition as one of the esteemed Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop.

Additionally, he was esteemed as one of the distinguished Five Tiger Generals of TVB. Throughout the 1980s, Andy Lau graced both TV series and films with his exceptional performances.

His illustrious career boasts an array of memorable roles, including works such as “The Emissary,” “The Return of the Condor Heroes,” “On The Wrong Track,” “As Tears Go By,” “Running Out of Time,” “Full Throttle,” “Made in Hong Kong,” “A Fighter’s Blues,” “Shaolin Soccer,” “Infernal Affairs,” “Protégé,” “Running on Karma,” “A Simple Life,” and many more, each contributing to his taste of stardom and enduring legacy in the entertainment world.

Andy Lau
Andy Lau

9. Xiao Zhan

He commenced his career as a member of the Chinese boy band X Nine and later achieved widespread fame in China through his role in the popular series “The Untamed” alongside Wang Yibo. The show’s availability on Netflix further amplified Xiao’s recognition on an international level.

In 2022, Xiao mesmerized the audience with his portrayal 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.

His global popularity has led to prestigious roles, including serving as a brand ambassador for Gucci, a spokesperson for L’Oréal Pro, and a global skincare ambassador for YSL.

Xiao Zhan
Xiao Zhan

10. Wang Yibo

In 2020, Wang Yibo emerged as one of China’s most beloved actors. Besides his acting prowess, Wang is also a talented singer and dancer. He began his journey in the entertainment world in 2014 as a member of the South Korean-Chinese boy band Uniq, showcasing his fluency in both Chinese and Korean.

Prior to his breakout role in the historical fantasy drama series “The Untamed” in 2019, Wang gained popularity as a host on the variety TV show “Day Day Up” starting from 2016.

In 2023, Wang took on leading roles in two highly anticipated films released during the May Day holiday season. One of these films, “Nameless,” featured him collaborating with renowned actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai in a gripping spy war story.

Additionally, he starred in an action-packed movie centred around Chinese fighter pilots, aptly titled “King of the Sky.”

Wang’s captivating on-screen presence has made him a sought-after brand ambassador for prominent names like Ugg, Anta, Moncler, and Swarovski, among others, solidifying his status as a prominent figure in the Chinese entertainment and advertising industries.

Wang Yibo
Wang Yibo

11. Hou Minghao

Hou Minghao, born in 1997, embarked on his journey in the entertainment world when he joined the renowned Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment, known for representing K-pop sensations like EXO and NCT.

At the tender age of 15, he became a trainee under their wing. In 2014, he marked his official debut as a member of the group “Fresh Geeks” and released their debut album “UP 4 U.”

In March 2017, Hou Minghao showcased his acting prowess by portraying the highly intelligent teenage prodigy Tang Chuan in the suspense film “The Devotion of Suspect X.” Following this success, he further solidified his acting career with appearances in various mystery web dramas.

The year 2023 brought him well-deserved attention for his exceptional performance as the male lead in the historical melodrama series “Back from the Brink,” where he starred alongside Zhou Ye, captivating audiences and further establishing his place in the entertainment industry.

The series premiered on the popular streaming platform Youku Video.

Hou Mingha
Hou Mingha

12. Gong Jun

Gong Jun’s journey to fame began with his breakthrough role in the drama series “Lost Love in Times” (2017), followed by a notable performance in the romantic 

The comedy-drama “Begin Again” (2020) further elevated his status in the entertainment industry.

In February 2021, he captivated audiences with his role in the boys’ love drama “Word of Honor,” receiving widespread acclaim and catching the attention of viewers worldwide when Netflix picked up the series.

In recognition of his talents and achievements, Gong Jun was honoured at the 25th Anniversary Gentle Gala in 2022, hosted by Esquire, where he received the “Annual Commercial Value Artist” award. He was named the “Most Anticipated Actor of the Year” at the prestigious 2022 Weibo Night ceremony the same year.

Continuing his success, in 2023, Gong Jun received a special invitation from L’Oréal Paris to participate in the 76th Cannes International Film Festival, adding another milestone to his flourishing career.

Gong Jun
Gong Jun

13. Jackson Yee

Born in 2000, Jackson Yee, a multi-talented Chinese actor and singer, soared to fame in 2013 as a member of the popular group TFBOYS. Their breakthrough hit “Manual of Youth” in 2014 propelled them to widespread recognition.

In 2020, Yee’s exceptional acting skills earned him critical acclaim for his role in the film “Better Days,” resulting in prestigious awards like Best New Performer at the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards and Best Newcomer at the 35th Hundred Flowers Awards. 

Following his graduation from the esteemed Central Academy of Drama, he took on a lead role in the mainland Chinese historical war film “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” which topped the global box office in 2021. Notably, Yee’s popularity continued to soar as he secured the top position on the 2021 Forbes China Celebrity 100 list.

Simultaneously, he was chosen as Armani Beauty’s new global makeup and skin care ambassador, cementing his status as an influential figure in the entertainment and beauty industries.

Jackson Yee
Jackson Yee

14. Fan Chengcheng

Fan Chengcheng, formerly a part of the Chinese boy group Nine Percent and presently a member of Yuehua’s NEXT, has left a remarkable mark on the entertainment world. His talent and dedication were recognized at the Sina Weibo Movie Night Awards in 2022, when he was bestowed with the title of “Annual Rising Star.”

In 2023, Fan further demonstrated his versatility by showcasing his acting prowess in the films “To Be Continued” and “Godspeed.” Additionally, he joined the cast of the immensely popular Chinese variety show “Keep Running,” captivating audiences with his engaging presence.

Notably, Fan Chengcheng is the younger sibling of renowned Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and has also earned the role of brand spokesperson for Givenchy, showcasing his influence and prominence in both the acting and fashion realms.

Fan Chengcheng
Fan Chengcheng

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15. Hu Yitian

He started acting after pursuing a degree in Landscape Architecture from Wanxiang Polytechnic College. Hu Yitian briefly worked as a model before making the life-changing decision to venture into acting.

His acting journey began with a minor role in the teen drama “Rush to the Dead Summer.” However, his subsequent role in “A Love So Beautiful” catapulted him to stardom, winning the hearts of viewers and establishing his fame.

Following this success, he continued to charm audiences with more hit series, including “Go Go Squid,” its sequel, “Handsome Siblings,” “Unrequited Love,” and more, showcasing his versatility and talent as an actor.

Hu Yitian
Hu Yitian

16. Dylan Wang

Dylan Wang is a multi-talented artist, excelling as a singer, actor, and model in China. He rose to superstardom with his iconic portrayal of Daoming Si in the TV series “Meteor Garden.”

Before entering the entertainment industry, he pursued a career as a 16th-level flight attendant at the Sichuan Southwest College of Civil Aviation and later became the spokesperson for flight attendants.

Following his debut in “Meteor Garden,” Dylan Wang showcased his versatility by participating in various variety shows like “Super Idol,” where he emerged as the winner, further solidifying his popularity.

Continuing to impress audiences, he has recently appeared in several notable productions such as “The Rational Life,” “Miss The Dragon,” “Cang Lan Jue,” and more, proving his prowess as an accomplished and sought-after artist.

Dylan wang
Dylan Wang

17. Li Yifeng

Li Yifeng, a versatile Chinese actor and singer, embarked on his journey by taking part in the show “My Hero” and simultaneously launched his music career.

After a successful stint in singing with several chart-topping singles, Li Yifeng shifted his focus to acting, landing a breakthrough role in “Swords of Legend.”

His remarkable performances in various productions, including “The Lost Tomb,” “Noble Aspirations,” “Sparrow,” “Mr. Six,” “Animal World,” “Fearless Whispers,” “Sunny Happiness,” “Daughter’s Return,” and many others, have further solidified his reputation as a talented artist.

Li Yifeng’s exceptional contributions to the entertainment industry have earned him numerous accolades, including the Hundred Flowers Award, the Huading Award, The Golden Eagle Award, The Actors of China Award, and many more, celebrating his excellence and dedication in the field of entertainment.

Li Yifeng
Li Yifeng

18. Chen Daoming

Chen Daoming, a highly esteemed Chinese actor, has garnered recognition and accolades throughout his career, earning nominations for two Golden Rooster Awards, two Flying Apsaras Awards, a Golden Eagle, a Golden Phoenix Award, and more.

He rose to prominence with his remarkable performance in “The Last Dynasty” and went on to star in a series of acclaimed productions such as “My 1919,” “Hero,” “Coming Home,” “Infernal Affairs III,” “The Founding of a Republic,” “The Founding of a Party,” “My Country, My People,” “Joy of Life,” “My Best Friend’s Story,” and many others.

Chen Daoming
Chen Daoming

19. Zhang Zhehan

Zhang Zhe Han, an actor, and singer, began his acting journey with the 2010 romance series “Why Love You” after graduating from Shanghai Theatre Academy.

However, his remarkable performance in the 2015 historical series “Legend of Ban Shu” catapulted him to wider recognition. In 2020, Zhang received the prestigious Weibo Award for Rising Artist of the Year, followed by the Weibo Movie Night Awards in 2021, where he was honoured as the Most Watched/Followed Actor of the Year.

However, in 2021, Zhang faced significant repercussions after being suspected of visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which houses war criminals from World War II.

This incident led to the loss of all 27 of his business endorsements, as well as a film and a variety show. Furthermore, his social media accounts were banned, and streaming platforms removed his name from cast lists, including the series “Word of Honor”, in which he had starred.

Zhang Zhehan
Zhang Zhehan

20. Huang Bo

Huang Bo, a multi-talented individual, excels as an actor, director, and musician. He embarked on his career by performing in bars and teaching dance, exploring various creative avenues like film dubbing, and even owning a factory.

After completing his studies at the Beijing Film Academy, Huang Bo dedicated himself to becoming a full-time actor and director. His remarkable works, including acclaimed films such as “Crazy Stone,” “Cow,” “Design of Death,” “Lost in Thailand,” “No Man’s Land,” “Journey to The West,” “Conquering The Demons,” and “The Conformist,” have earned him critical acclaim and recognition.

Huang Bo’s talent has been acknowledged with several film awards, and his consistent success has earned him a spot on Forbes China’s Celebrity 100 list for the 6th consecutive year.

Huang Bo
Huang Bo

21. Zhu Yilong

Zhu Yilong boasts a distinguished and diverse career in both film and television. He made his TV debut in the film “Zai Sheng Yuan” and continued to shine in other TV films like “The Snatched Bride,” “Blood-Colored Deep Mansion,” and more.

In 2014, Zhu gained widespread recognition for his performance in “Love Three Lives” and received the Most Anticipated Actor award at the Asian Film Festival.

His remarkable acting skills have also been showcased in various other notable roles, including “The Shaw Eleven Lang,” “Border Town Prodigal,” “Guardian,” “The Story of Minglan,” “Reunion: The Sound of the Providence,” “My True Friend,” “My People, My Country,” and more.

Zhu Yilong
Zhu Yilong

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Conclusion

The world of Chinese cinema is graced by an extraordinary ensemble of talent, as evidenced by the top 20 Chinese actors we’ve explored in this article. From their earliest breakthroughs to their latest triumphs, these actors have entertained audiences and shaped the cultural fabric of their nation and beyond.

Whether it’s the adrenaline-pumping action sequences of martial arts legends or the heartfelt portrayals of complex characters in emotional dramas, each actor has carved a niche of their own, leaving an indelible legacy in the annals of film history.

As the global appetite for Chinese cinema continues to grow, these actors serve as cultural ambassadors, transcending borders and bridging gaps between diverse audiences.

Their dedication to their craft, passion for storytelling, and ability to breathe life into the characters they embody have propelled Chinese cinema to new heights of recognition and acclaim.

As we eagerly await the next chapters in their illustrious careers, let us celebrate the artistry and brilliance of these top 20 Chinese actors, whose performances continue to evoke laughter, tears, and introspection.

With each new project, they remind us of the boundless power of cinema and its ability to touch hearts, transcend language barriers, and connect us all in a shared love for storytelling.

As their stars continue to rise, we can only anticipate the cinematic treasures that lie ahead as they continue to illuminate the silver screen with their remarkable talent, versatility, and charisma.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chinese Actors

Who are some well-known Chinese actors?

Some well-known Chinese actors include Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, Andy Lau, Fan Bingbing, Huang Xiaoming, and Li Bingbing.

What are some notable Chinese films or TV series featuring these actors?

Jackie Chan is known for movies like “Rush Hour” and “Drunken Master.” Jet Li starred in “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Zhang Ziyi gained fame through “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

Who is the best Chinese actress?

Here is a list of some of the Chinese actresses that have made significant contributions to the film industry;
Gong Li
Zhang Ziyi
Fan Bingbing
Vicki Zhao Wei
Zhou Xun
Tang Wei
Li Bingbing
Huang Yi
Carina Lau
Xu Qing
Shu Qi
Liu Yifei
Yang Mi
Angelababy
Sun Li