An iconic actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee, in his short life, gained international fame and developed his own form of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do. In films, he debuted as a child actor and became a huge Hollywood star after the release of his last film Enter the Dragon.
2 Jack Ma
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 .
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.
5 Jet Li
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.
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 Yip Man
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.
10 Sun Tzu
11 Yao Ming
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.
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 Jackson Wang
Hong Kong rapper, singer, and dancer Jackson Wang gained international popularity as a member of the South Korean boy group Got7. Born into a family with a rich legacy in sports, he played multiple sports as a teenager before he began his entertainment career. He is the recipient of many BreakTudo Awards.
14 Kris Wu
15 Dylan Wang
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.
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.
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.
18 Bolo Yeung
19 Sun Yat Sen
20 Zheng He
21 Simu Liu
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.
22 Lin Dan
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.
23 Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow is a Hong Kong actor, producer, and filmmaker. He is best known for playing important characters in martial arts films like Shaolin Soccer. Apart from appearing in Shaolin Soccer, Chow also directed the film which grossed more than US$50 million. Renowned for his work in comedy, Chow was nicknamed King of Comedy by the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
24 Hu Jintao
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.
25 Hu Yi Tian
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 Ma Huateng
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.
27 Jiang Zemin
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.
29 Tank Man
Tank Man is an unidentified Chinese man who protested the Chinese government's violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests by obstructing the path of a column of tanks by standing in front of the lead tank in Tiananmen Square. The incident was filmed and the images are regarded as one of the most iconic photographs of all time.
30 Cao Cao
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.
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.
32 Ai Weiwei
33 Deng Lun
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!
34 Wong Kar-wai
36 Ludi Lin
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.
38 Liu Xiaobo
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 Lu Bu
40 Li Wenliang
41 Lu Han
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.
42 Guan Yu
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.
44 Zhuge Liang
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.
45 John Woo
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.
48 Edison Chen
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.
49 Sun Yang
50 Liu Bei
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.