Famous Chinese Men

The Chinese are famous for their intelligence, dedication and industriousness. China, one of the most populous countries of the world is also one of the fastest growing ones. Often touted as an emerging superpower, China is indeed a great nation to reckon with. Chinese men have since the beginning of civilization contributed a lot to the world in the fields of astronomy, science, religion, philosophy, mathematics, arts, and literature. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius is undoubtedly one of the greatest ever teachers to have walked this earth while the philosopher Laozi is almost revered as a deity. The Chinese are blessed with an innate sense of artistry and aesthetics and Chinese artists and painters like An Zhengwen, Cáo Xuěqín, and Chéng Zhèngkuí have enriched the world of fine arts through the past many centuries.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong
Famous As: Communist Leader of China
Birthdate: December 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shaoshan, Xiangtan, China
Died: September 9, 1976

One of the most significant and controversial leaders of the 20th century, Mao Zedong was a communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China which he governed as the chairman of Chinese Communist Party. He is appreciated for numerous development work but is criticised for his authoritarian regime and policies which resulted in millions of deaths .

 2 Jack Ma

Jack Ma
Famous As: Chinese business magnate
Birthdate: September 10, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hangzhou, China
Jack Ma’s journey from being a tourist guide to establishing the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba is inspirational. Initially rejected by various companies, he is the second-wealthiest person in China as of 2020. After quitting his post of executive chairman of Alibaba in 2019, he focused on philanthropy and environmental causes. 

 3 Confucius

Famous As: Renowned Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher
Birthdate: September 28, 0551
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Qufu
Died: 0479 BC

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher whose philosophy came to be known as Confucianism. Confucianism is often credited with shaping Chinese communities and East Asian societies. Confucius is considered one of the most influential individuals in the history of mankind as his teachings have had a great impact on people around the world. His philosophy continues to remain influential.

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 4 Jet Li

Jet Li
Famous As: Actor, Martial artist
Birthdate: April 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beijing, China

Jet Li is one of the most popular Asian actors to have made it big in the American film industry. A martial artist and former Wushu champion, he won a national championship before retiring from competitive Wushu to focus on his acting career. Also a well-known philanthropist, Jet Li is closely associated with the Red Cross Society of China.

 5 Yip Man

Yip Man
Famous As: Martial Artist
Birthdate: October 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Foshan
Died: December 2, 1972

Yip Man was a Chinese martial artist best remembered for teaching martial arts to the famous Chinese American martial artist, Bruce Lee. Yip Man is credited with teaching not only Bruce Lee but also many other students who went on to become martial arts masters. A biographical martial arts film titled Ip Man was inspired by his life and career.

 6 Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0259 BC
Birthplace: Handan, China
Died: 0210 BC

Qin Shi Huang is credited with founding the Qin dynasty, the first dynasty of Imperial China. He reigned as the first emperor of a unified China from 221 BC to 210 BC. Under his rule, the Chinese state expanded greatly and he also enacted major political and economic reforms. His life and work inspired several films like The Emperor's Shadow.

 7 Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guang'an, China
Died: February 19, 1997
Deng Xiaoping led the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1989. He ordered a crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protestors in 1989, leading to the June Fourth Massacre. However, he also earned the tag of the "Architect of Modern China" for ushering in a market economy in the country.
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 8 Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu
Famous As: Ancient Military General, Strategist & Philosopher
Birthdate: 0544 BC
Died: 0496 BC
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general from the Eastern Zhou period. He is known to have written The Art of War, which propagated various alternatives to battles, such as alliances and use of spies, to win wars. He is said to be the same as Sun Wu and Sun Bin.

 9 Lao Tzu (Laozi)

Lao Tzu (Laozi)
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0601 BC
Birthplace: Henan
Died: 0531 BC
Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, or Laozi, who is said to have lived in 6th-century BC by some and in the 4th-century BC by others, wrote the Tao Te Ching. He founded Taoism and is a legendary figure or deity. The Tang Dynasty emperors claimed he had founded their lineage.

 10 Yao Ming

Yao Ming
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: September 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Widely regarded as one of the greatest Chinese basketball players ever, Yao Ming represented the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Known as the Ming Dynasty in the US, Ming's popularity and success in the NBA made him a symbol of China. One of China's most popular sportsmen, Ming is also credited with introducing the Chinese Basketball Association to the world.

 11 Simu Liu

Simu Liu
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 19, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harbin, China

Born in China, Simu Liu moved to Canada at 5. A business administration graduate, he took to acting after being laid off by Deloitte. Trained in martial arts, he initially found work as a stunt man. He is best known for his Canadian Screen Award-nominated role in Blood and Water.

 12 Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-shek
Famous As: President of the Republic of China
Birthdate: October 31, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xikou
Died: April 5, 1975

Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese revolutionary who led the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and later on in Taiwan until his death. He is credited with successfully leading the Northern Expedition against the Beiyang government, achieving Chinese unification. He was involved in a civil war with Communist Party of China, which he lost in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan.

 13 Dylan Wang

Dylan Wang
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 20, 1998
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chengdu

Dylan Wang is a Chinese singer, rapper, model, and actor. He achieved international fame for his portrayal of Daoming Si in the popular TV series, Meteor Garden. Apart from being an entertainer, Dylan is also a basketball enthusiast. In 2019, he participated in a celebrity basketball game and helped his team secure a win at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center

 14 Bodhidharma

Famous As: Buddhist Monk
Birthdate: 0483 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0540 AD

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who is believed to have started the physical training in China's Shaolin Temple and therefore is credited with the creation of Shaolin kungfu. Not a Chinese by birth, Bodhidharma is also believed to have transmitted Chan Buddhism to China. 

 15 Puyi

Famous As: Last Emperor of China
Birthdate: February 7, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Prince Chun Mansion, Beijing, China
Died: October 17, 1967

Puyi served as the final emperor of China's last imperial dynasty, The Qing dynasty. After Manchuria was invaded by Japan, Puyi became a puppet at the hands of the Japanese and was chosen as the emperor of the puppet state of Manchukuo. He then signed many edicts, given to him by the Japanese, including the one that made slavery legal.

 16 Kris Wu

Kris Wu
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 6, 1990
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Chinese-Canadian actor/singer Wu Yifan, better known as Kris Wu, previously performed as part of the South Korean-Chinese boy band EXO. He has also had a successful solo career, with hits such as Good Kid, and has starred in films such as Mr. Six and XXX: Return of Xander Cage.

 17 Sun Yat-Sen

Sun Yat-Sen
Famous As: President of the Republic of China (1912)
Birthdate: November 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuiheng, Zhongshan, China
Died: March 12, 1925
Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat Sen, also known as the "Father of the Nation" in China, ousted the Qing Dynasty in 1911. He was the first leader of the Nationalist Party of China and laid down the Three Principles of the People, which included nationalism, democracy, and livelihood.

 18 I. M. Pei

I. M. Pei
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: April 26, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Died: May 16, 2019

I. M. Pei was a Chinese-American architect who drew inspiration from the garden villas at Suzhou when he was young. He is credited with founding I. M. Pei & Associates, an independent design firm, in 1955. Today, the award-winning firm is known by the name, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Pei is known for designing structures like the Mesa Laboratory.

 19 Zheng He

Zheng He
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: September 23, 1371
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yunnan
Died: 1433 AD
Chinese explorer Zheng He was also Chinese Ming dynasty eunuch. He was born Ma He, a Muslim, and was named Zheng by the Yongle Emperor, whom he helped to depose the Jianwen Emperor. He became the commander of Nanjing and led expeditions to places such as Southeast Asia and India.

 20 Bolo Yeung

Bolo Yeung
Famous As: Bodybuilder
Birthdate: July 3, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China

Bolo Yeung is a Hong Kong retired competitive bodybuilder and martial arts film actor. He is best known for his performance in popular films like Enter the Dragon and Bloodsport. He has also played lead roles in films like Ironheart, which is regarded as a cult classic. As a bodybuilder, Yeung held the Mr. Hong Kong title for ten years.  

 21 Lin Dan

Lin Dan
Famous As: Badminton Player
Birthdate: October 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Longyan

With 666 career wins, including two Olympic and two World Cup golds, Lin Dan is one of the veterans of Chinese badminton. He is the only player to achieve a Super Slam, winning all nine major badminton titles. Known for his fitness and attacking style, Dan retired at 37.

 22 Hu Jintao

Hu Jintao
Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Birthdate: December 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Taizhou

President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, Hu Jintao is believed to have given shape to the belligerent China that Xi Jinping unleashed on the world. He was conservative with political reforms and reintroduced state control in several sectors. Known for his reserved and modest leadership style, his tenure marked consensus based rule and collective leadership.

 23 Jimmy O. Yang

Jimmy O. Yang
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: British Hong Kong

Born in Hong Kong, Jimmy O. Yang moved to the U.S. with his parents at 13. Although equipped with an economics degree, he found his calling in comedy and established himself as a talented stand-up comedian. He is now known for his roles in Silicon Valley and Crazy Rich Asians.

 24 Ma Huateng

Ma Huateng
Famous As: CEO of Tencent
Birthdate: October 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chaoyang, Shantou

Chinese business magnate Ma Huateng, or Pony Ma, is best known as the founder, chairman, and CEO of the technology giant Tencent. His company owns the messaging app WeChat. One of CEOWORLD’s Most Powerful People in the World, he was a delegate of the 12th National People's Congress.

 25 Hu Yi Tian

Hu Yi Tian
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 26, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hangzhou

After making waves with his TV debut in A Rush to Dead Summer, Chinese actor Hu Yitian gained accolades and awards for his role of Jiang Chen in the Tencent series A Love So Beautiful. He has also appeared on reality shows such as Twenty-Four Hours.

 26 Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yangzhou, Jiangsu

Chinese politician, Jiang Zemin, served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002. Qualified as an engineer, he joined the Chinese Communist Party when he was in college. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Minister of Electronic Industries. 

 27 Ludi Lin

Ludi Lin
Famous As: Film actor
Birthdate: November 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fuzhou, China

Born in China, Ludi Lin spent most of his early years studying in Australia and then moved to Canada. Apart from studying acting, he also took up courses in dietetics and medicine. His martial arts and language skills have helped him grab roles in a lot of Chinese co-productions.

 28 Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong Emperor
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: September 25, 1711
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Died: February 7, 1799
The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor and reigned over China from 1735 to 1796. Known for the economic prosperity and military prowess his kingdom gained under his rule, he continued to indirectly rule as the Retired Emperor even after his abdication.

 29 Cao Cao

Cao Cao
Famous As: Chinese warlord
Birthdate: March 18, 0155
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bozhou, Anhui, China
Died: March 15, 0220

Cao Cao was a Chinese warlord, poet, and statesman. He played an important role in laying the foundations for the state of Cao Wei, which was formed shortly after his death. Although he was posthumously honoured with the title Emperor Wu of Wei, Cao Cao never ruled as an emperor, but kept Emperor Xian under his control.

 30 Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei
Famous As: Contemporary artist and Activist
Birthdate: August 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Named Art Review’s most powerful artist in 2011, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has become a symbol of resilience against the authoritarian Chinese government. Jailed and banned from leaving the country once, he is known for using various media, such as sculpture, photos, and documentaries, to reflect Chinese human-rights abuses.

 31 Deng Lun

Deng Lun
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 21, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province

Deng Lun soared to fame with the xianxia series Ashes of Love. The star of The Yin-Yang Master film franchise, Lun was named Esquire’s Most Commercially Valuable Artist of the Year. He has also appeared in the series Flowers in Fog and the reality show Go Fighting! 

 32 Lu Bu

Lu Bu
Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Wuyuan Commandery, China
Died: February 7, 0199

 33 Li Ching-Yuen

Li Ching-Yuen
Famous As: Herbalist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Chongqing, China
Died: May 6, 1933

Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese martial artist, herbalist, and tactical advisor. Li Ching-Yuen, who is believed to have lived off a diet of rice wine and exotic herbs throughout his life, is best remembered for his extreme longevity claim. According to his claim, Li Ching-Yuen lived for 250 years, although gerontologists consider that to be a myth.

 34 Guan Yu

Guan Yu
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Died: 0219 AD

Guan Yu was nicknamed Beautiful Beard for his long, flowing beard. Featured in literary works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan was a Chinese military general who served Liu Bei of the Eastern Han dynasty. Lord Guan is now revered as a deity in Chinese folk culture.

 35 Xuanzang

Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 0602 AD
Birthplace: Henan
Died: February 5, 0664

 36 Li Wenliang

Li Wenliang
Famous As: Ophthalmologist
Birthdate: October 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beizhen, Jinzhou, China
Died: February 17, 2020

 37 Kangxi Emperor

Kangxi Emperor
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: May 4, 1654
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Died: December 20, 1722
Son of emperor Shunzhi and empress Xiaokang, Xuanye, or the Kangxi Emperor, was the Qing dynasty’s third emperor. Apart from signing the Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia, he crushed the revolt of the three warlords, known as the Rebellion of Wu Sangui. He was also known to be a workaholic.

 38 Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo
Famous As: Chinese Human Rights Activist
Birthdate: December 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Changchun, China
Died: July 13, 2017

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese activist, literary critic, and philosopher. He is best remembered for organizing campaigns that aimed at ending the one-party rule in China. He was honored with the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for human rights in China. Liu is the first Chinese citizen to be honored with a Nobel Prize while residing in China.

 39 Leslie Cheung

Leslie Cheung
Famous As: Singer, Composer, Film director, Actor, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 12, 1956
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kowloon
Died: April 1, 2003

Cantopop pioneer Leslie Cheung was born to a tailor who worked for celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock. Educated in the U.K., he later began a singing career in Hong Kong and then moved to Canada. After an illustrious 26-year career, he committed suicide by jumping from the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

 40 Lu Han

Lu Han
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 20, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haidian District, Beijing, China

Lu Han is a Chinese actor and singer who was part of the popular South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo. In 2014, he was ranked sixth in the most popular entertainment star list published by China National Radio. Over the years, Lu Han has been honored at several important film festivals like Beijing International Film Festival and Fresh Asia Chart Festival.

 41 Edison Chen

Edison Chen
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Record Producer
Birthdate: October 7, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vancouver

Known as a "bad boy" once, Canadian-born Hong Kong actor/singer Edison Chen is now a doting dad to his daughter with his Chinese model wife Qin Shupei. The actor who has appeared in films such as the Infernal Affairs trilogy, was part of a nude photo scandal back in 2008.

 42 J. G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard
Famous As: Novelist, Writer, Autobiographer, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: November 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shanghai
Died: April 19, 2009

J. G. Ballard was an English novelist, satirist, short story writer, and essayist. Renowned for his uniqueness, Ballard's style of fiction is referred to as Ballardian in the literary world. Many of his works have inspired movies, such as Crash and High-Rise. J. G. Ballard’s work has also inspired other popular writers like John Gray, Terry Dowling, and Lee Killough.

 43 Zhuge Liang

Zhuge Liang
Famous As: Military Strategist, Inventor
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Birthplace: Shandong, China
Died: 0234 AD

Zhuge Liang, or Kong Ming, was a Chinese strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. Legend has it that he had supernatural powers and had invented a number of things, such as a crossbow that shot multiple arrows. His habit of living in seclusion earned him the nickname The Hidden Dragon.

 44 Zhang Yimou

Zhang Yimou
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: April 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

Part of the Chinese Fifth Generation of filmmakers, Zhang Yimou is best known for his Academy Award-nominated films Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, and Hero. His most expensive film, The Great Wall, was, however, a box-office failure. He also directed part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

 45 Sun Yang

Sun Yang
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: December 1, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hangzhou

Sun Yang is a Chinese competitive swimmer best known for winning three Olympic gold medals. Sun has also won 11 FINA World Championships and nine gold medals at Asian Games. Sun is the first man in the history of competitive swimming to win the World Championship and Olympic gold medals at every single freestyle distance between 200 and 1500 meters.

 46 Liu Bei

Liu Bei
Famous As: Founder of the Chinese Shu Han Dynasty
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Zhuozhou, Baoding, China
Died: June 10, 0223

Liu Bei was a warlord in the Eastern Han dynasty. He is credited with founding the state of Shu Han. Liu Bei went on to reign as the emperor of Shu Han from 221 until his death in 223. Liu Bei is best remembered for his remarkable skills as a leader and politician. His life has inspired several TV series.

 47 Yongzheng

Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: December 13, 1678
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: October 8, 1735

Yongzheng reigned over the Qing dynasty as its fourth Emperor from 1722 to 1735. He was also the third Qing emperor to reign over the Eighteen Provinces. Remembered for his hard-working nature, Yongzheng's most prominent objective was to come up with an effective government at minimum expense. Yongzheng, who cracked down on corruption, is credited with forming the Grand Council.

 48 Hans Zhang

Hans Zhang
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Qiqihar, China

Hans Zhang is a Chinese actor, host, and singer. He is known for playing important roles in TV series like Meteor Shower, The Queen of SOP, Boss & Me, and Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties. Over the years, Hans Zhang has won several prestigious awards, such as Asian Idol Awards, China TV Drama Award, and Seoul International Drama Award.

 49 Han Geng

Han Geng
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 9, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mudanjiang, China

Mandopop and K-pop singer and actor Han Geng first gained fame with the band Super Junior. He is trained in 56 types of traditional Chinese dance forms, apart from martial arts and ballet. He has also succeeded as a solo singer and has appeared in movies such as Ex-Files.

 50 Budai

Famous As: Buddhist monk
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: China

Legendary 10th-century Chinese monk Budai, is better known as The Laughing Buddha and The Fat Buddha. Named after the “budai” or cloth sack that he carried with him, he was considered an avatar of Maitreya, or the future Buddha. His figures adorn many homes, as a symbol of prosperity and contentment.

Contemporary Chinese men too uphold the ideals of their forefathers. Yang Liwei became the first Chinese man in space while the Nobel Prize laureate physicist Chen-Ning Franklin Yang became known for his work on statistical mechanics. Chinese men have also left their impact in the field of sports and entertainment. Read on to discover more interesting facts about the Chinese men who have contributed much to world civilization.