Story background 

China’s highest-paid actress Fan Bingbing disappeared for a while this summer following accusations of tax evasion. An apology for breaking the law appeared on her social media account, and Fan has been ordered to pay 884 million yuan (786 million HKD) to avoid criminal prosecution.  

TouTiao exposed 100 celebrities’ annual salary according to their favorable rate, media exposure and endorsement rate in 2017 and found Fan gained No.1 with 244 million yuan.As a star being popular for so many years not only in Asia but also worldwide, Fan Bing Bing has a very high social status and  high income that she can afford such a huge penalty.

With the development of social media, a new term called fan economy comes up to the stage. Celebrities can publicize themselves on social media and interact with fans. In this passage, we are mainly focusing on how celebrities earn a lot by social media.

Since celebrities being popular and earning huge annual salary is a common issue in greater China, we selected 9 celebrities (mainly focusing on Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) who is on the top of the Weibo leaderboard recently to find the relationship between their activation and annual salary.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Basic Weibo Data

Basic Weibo Data

In order to study a convincing conclusion, we select latest Weibo data from October to November in 2018 as our evidence.


Through finding the original post from each celebrity’s Weibo, their posts consist a series of varieties including the advertisement of agent brand, the charity announcement, working condition, drama promotion and daily route.

Weibo Average Likes and Comment Data

螢幕快照 2018-12-05 下午9.35.38.png


Commercial Value of Celebrity

Since the latent rules consists in entertainment industry, the majority of celebrities would sign the ‘Yin-yang contract’  with cooperative company, which cannot calculate the real annual salary through online data.

 “Yin-yang contract”

There are 2 different contracts and only the public one will be counted for tax payment and the less salary the contract shows, the less tax they are going to pay. For instance, the public contract says the celebrity can get 1 million paid but in fact they will get 1 billion which is way more than what the public contract says.

Because of ‘Yin-yang contract’, the annual salary published online is not convincing. Thus, overall commercial value which makes profession rate, endorsement rate, favorable rate and media exposure as references, would be an alternate to evaluate the income of celebrity.

Brand Endorsement

The amount of endorsement including luxury brands, international brands, Asia brands and domestic brands of each celebrity in 2018. Since luxury brand have a high standard to the celebrity of their endorsement, it is able to use the number or the percentage of luxury brand to show one’s commercial value.

2018-12-06 下午10.33.54

The relationship between Weibo basic data and commercial value

Based on above data, a relationship between celebrities’ commercial value and the frequency of the interaction within the celebrities and their followers can be generated.

Though the above line is in a positive linear relationship, but the relationship is too weak and the dots drop in a messy way which is not obvious to show the linear relationship between the amount of comment and overall commercial value. And literally, the comments under the post including both positive comments and negative comments which cannot show the likability of people comments below.  So this relationship will just be taken as a reference.

2018-12-06 下午10.59.45

It can find that the slope is equal to 0.0347 that is large than 0, which can be a positive linear relationship between the data of comment and commercial value.

However, for the amount of comments and likes, they are more persuasive than repost number. Firstly, comments under their posts contains both positive comments and negative comments. No matter what kind of emotion the comments are, the number can shows their popularity among the followers  and their influence on the social media. Secondly, for the amount of likes, it is the easiest way to show the likability of a celebrity. Netizens only need to click the button to show that they like the post which is simple with positive emotion.

Therefore, the relationship between overall commercial value and the amount of likes is the most persuasive one to prove our hypothesis on the social media impact between the celebrity and their followers.

If celebrity has more comments, reposts, likes in Weibo, he/she will have high rate of commercial values (They can own high annual salary).