Time sure flies as it’s already the end of 2019. Now is the perfect time to reflect on the year as it was full of great Chinese dramas like “The Untamed,” “Go Go Squid,” and “Goodbye My Princess,” just to name a few. With these stand-out dramas, naturally there is a group actors who also rose to the top with their popularity exploding in 2019. Who are these actors you ask? Well, here’s a list of 2019’s seven hottest rising Chinese actors that you should get to know!

Chen Xing Xu

Our first breakout star from early 2019 is Chen Xing Xu. He is most well known for his dramas “The Legend of the Condor Heroes” and “Goodbye My Princess.” He is a graduate from the Central Academy of Drama, regarded as one of the top three most prestigious film schools in China. The actor made his entertainment debut at a very young age. He was scouted at a park when he was three years old and began to star in advertisements. Chen Xing Xu filmed his very first drama “A Passionate Life” at four years old.

The rising actor started to gain popularity after playing the antagonist Yang Kang in the 2017 drama remake of “The Legend of the Condor Heroes.” Chen Xing Xu’s popularity exploded after starring in the popular historical drama “Goodbye My Princess.” He received rave reviews for his excellent portrayal of the anti-hero Gu Xiaowu/Li Chengyin, a highly flawed and complex character meant to be hated. After the drama started airing, Chen was mobbed by hoards of overzealous fans at the airport.

His next upcoming drama is “The Best of Times” starring Hu Bing Qing, but there is no confirmed set air date yet. Chen Xing Xu is certainly being kept busy with many projects, as he is currently filming the military drama “The Glory of Youth” alongside Li Yi Feng.

Start watching him in “Goodbye My Princess”:

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Xu Kai

Our next rising actor is known for his outstanding visuals and mesmerizing eyes. Xu Kai started off his career as a model after winning first place at the 2013 China Guangzhou International Model Contest. In 2016, he signed with Huanyu Film and debuted in the drama “Untouchable Lovers.” He gained recognition and popularity for his role as Fuheng in the 2018 historical drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The drama was enormously popular in China and internationally. According to Google, “Story of Yanxi Palace” was the No. 1 trending show and the most searched show in the world in 2018.

This year, Xu Kai landed his first leading role in the historical-fantasy drama “The Legends.” His role as the demon prince, Li Chenlan, earned him positive reviews from audiences and a surge in popularity. He also starred in the republican drama “Arsenal Military Academy” and his performance as the rich playboy, Gu Yanzhen, earned him the Best Actor award at the Hengdian Film and TV Festival of China and Singapore’s StarHub Night of Stars 2019.

Xu Kai also made his film debut this year in “Autumn Fairy Tale,” a remake of the Korean drama “Autumn In My Heart.” He also starred in the recently aired historical-fantasy drama Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain. The rising actor is a busy man as he has a line-up of dramas set to air, including: “Dance of the Empire,” “Ode to Daughter of Great Tang,” and “Zhao Ge.” For his next project, he is paired up with Bai Lu again for the third time in the historical drama “Imperial Cuisine,” and he’ll also be working with Cosmic Girls member Cheng Xiao in the e-sports drama “Falling Into Your Smile.”

Start watching him in “Arsenal Military Academy”:

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Li Xian

Known online as our “July Boyfriend,” Li Xian’s popularity exploded this year after starring in the hit summer drama “Go Go Squid.” He’s a graduate from the prestigious Beijing Film Academy and officially made his acting debut in the 2012 film “Feng Shui.” Prior to “Go Go Squid,” Li Xian was best known for his supporting roles in the dramas “Medical Examiner Dr. Qin” and “Only Side By Side With You.” In 2017, he starred in his first lead role in the fantasy drama “Tientsin Mystic,” and the show is considered a commercial and critical hit.

Having been working in the industry for quite some time, Li Xian finally got his big break after playing the professional gamer, Han Shang Yan, in “Go Go Squid.” Fans immediately fell in love with his character who exudes a cold demeanor but is actually a sweet, caring man who strives for his dreams. “Go Go Squid” won Drama of the Year at the 8th iQiyi All-Star Carnival, and Li Xian and his fellow “Go Go Squid” co-star Yang Zi also won the respective Male and Female Idol awards. He also won Most Promising Actor of the Year at the 16th Esquire Man At His Best Awards.

Li Xian is currently starring in the historical-fantasy drama “Sword Dynasty,” which is also his first major role in a historical drama. You can look forward to seeing Li Xian in the upcoming crime film “The Enigma of Arrival” in February 2020 as well as the upcoming drama “Pride and Price.”

Start watching him in “Go Go Squid”:

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Xiao Zhan

Known for his beautiful bright smile that can slay fan girls all across the globe, Xiao Zhan is a member of the idol group X NINE and his most representative work include the dramas “Oh! My Emperor” and “The Untamed.” Prior to his debut in the entertainment industry, Xiao Zhan studied design at the Modern International Art Design Academy of CTBU (Chongqing Technology and Business University) and worked as a graphic designer and photographer.

He made his acting debut in 2016 in the drama “Super Star Academy.” Having only debuted a few years ago, Xiao Zhan played various supporting roles in the dramas “Fights Breaks Sphere,” “Shuttle Love Millennium,” and the current drama “Joy of Life.” This year, the actor reached a breakthrough in his career after starring in the smash hit fantasy-historical drama “The Untamed.” The drama was a huge success in China and internationally, leading to worldwide recognition for Xiao Zhan. Fans of the drama fell in love with his excellent portrayal of the carefree, charming, and unrestrained Wei Wuxian, who stayed true to his character despite the tumultuous events he faced. Xiao Zhan won the Popular Actor of the Year Award at the 2020 iQiYi Scream Night for the drama.

The rising star also starred in his first leading role in a film this year in the fantasy movie “Jade Dynasty.” The film topped China’s box office on its first day of release and earned over 400 million yuan (approximately $57 million) within two weeks of its release. When the film was released in Thailand, it set the record of the highest-grossing Chinese film in 10 years.

You can catch Xiao Zhan in his upcoming drama “The Oath of Love” starring Yang Zi, which is set to air in 2020.

Listen to the main theme song “无羁” (Unrestrained) for “The Untamed” by Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo: