2020 has been quite an interesting and rollercoaster ride of a year, leaving many of us to be stuck at home. Luckily enough, there’s been plenty of great dramas from China and Taiwan this year to keep us entertained, along with a new batch of hot rising actors to bless our screens. In previous years, we featured popular hot actors like: Li Xian, Wang Yibo, and Xu Kai, just to name of few. We’re back again with our list of the hottest rising actors of 2020 and it’s the biggest list to date with many standout stars. Check them out below!
Song Wei Long
Actor Song Wei Long is one of China’s fastest rising stars. The broadcast of the hugely popular family drama “Go Ahead” solidified his status as one of the most popular actors of 2020. Known for his handsome looks, you’ll be surprised to know that Song Wei Long is only 21 years old and has received many opportunities after signing with Huanyu Film in 2015. The 185 centimeter (approximately 6 feet) star made his debut as a model after he was scouted online at 16 years old. Prior to his entertainment career, Song Wei Long developed a love for martial arts after watching Jet Li’s iconic film “The New Legend of Shaolin” and attended the famous Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School.
In 2018, he received his first breakthrough in the historical drama “Untouchable Lovers” when he was just 18 years old. However, 2020 is definitely his year, with four dramas featuring him as the male lead, all of which aired this year: “Find Yourself,” “Beautiful Reborn Flower,” “In A Class of Her Own,” and “Go Ahead.” His dramas were all well-received, but “Go Ahead” and “Find Yourself” in particular are deeply loved by audiences for their outstanding characters and relationship portrayals, as well as excellent acting.
Due to his growing popularity, Song Wei Long is highly sought after by advertisers. He is currently endorsing over 10 brands ranging from skincare, electronics, fashion, and food. Most recently, Song Wei Long joined hands with international luxury brand Burberry as their brand ambassador, and he is also the brand spokesperson for Emporio Armani Watches for Men in the Asia Pacific region. The young rising star is currently filming the upcoming historical drama “A League of Nobleman” starring opposite Jing Bo Ran.
Start watching him in “Go Ahead”:
Ren Jia Lun
Our next rising actor is Ren Jia Lun (Allen Ren) whose popularity soared at the beginning of 2020 after starring in the breakout historical drama “Under the Power,” playing the cold and righteous imperial guard Lu Yi. Unlike many of his peers, Ren Jia Lun does not have a background in acting. He started off as a professional table tennis player. His coach discovered his talent in the sport after his parents enrolled him in table tennis lessons as a form of exercise at the age of five. This led to his decade long training in table tennis, and he was selected as a player for the provincial team in Shandong province. But due to suffering frequent injuries, Ren Jia Lun could not continue playing professionally.
After ending his table tennis career at 16 years old, Ren Jia Lun chose to pursue a career path as a singer and dancer. At the time, K-pop was really popular in China, and Ren Jia Lun became a big fan of Rain. He participated in many talent contests and auditions, garnering good results. In 2011, he moved to South Korea to be an idol trainee for four years. He was set to be the leader, lead rapper, and dancer of a Chinese-South Korean boy group, but due to unknown reasons the group never debuted and Ren Jia Lun returned to China.
In 2014, Ren Jia Lun was offered many roles in dramas and began his acting career, putting a halt on his singing and dancing career. He rose to fame after starring in the 2017 historical drama “The Glory of Tang Dynasty,” where he received rave reviews for his acting and won Best Actor at the Hengdian Film and TV Festival of China. Ren Jia Lun went on to star in more well-received dramas including “The Legend of Chusen” and “The Destiny of White Snake.” Despite having no formal training in acting, he’s been impressing viewers with his natural acting talent since his debut.
Ren Jia Lun recently wrapped up filming for the highly-anticipated drama “Forever and Ever” based on a popular novel called “One Lifetime Beautiful Bones,” which features a love story spanning different lifetimes. He stars alongside hot rising actress Bai Lu. Fans can also look forward to see Ren Jia Lun in his very first modern romance drama “Miss Crow with Mr. Lizard” alongside co-star Xing Fei.
Start watching him in “Under the Power”:
This list would not be complete if we did not include Taiwan’s “National Boyfriend” Greg Hsu (Hsu Kuang Han). He initially entered the entertainment industry as a singer and was set to debut in a boy band in 2012, but due to contract issues he was unable to debut. Greg switched fields to become a model and eventually transitioned into acting. He made his official acting debut as the male lead in the Malaysian drama “Dive Into Love” in 2013. Since then, Greg has starred in a string of supporting roles in various Taiwanese dramas including “Attention Love,” “My Dear Boy,” and “Nowhere Man.”
He finally received his big break after landing the lead role in the critically acclaimed and award-winning drama “Someday or One Day.” Playing the dual roles of Li Zi Wei and Wang Quan Sheng, he stole viewers’ hearts with his boyish good looks and dazzling smile. The drama is described as an artistic masterpiece for its modern story fused with elements of romance, time travel, and suspense. Not surprisingly, “Someday or One Day” was the big winner at the 55th Golden Bell Awards (Taiwan’s equivalent to the Emmy Awards) snagging major awards that included Best TV Series, Best Screenwriter, and Best Innovative Program.
Thanks to the drama, it pushed Greg to be a household name after being an unknown actor for seven years. Due to his growing popularity and fanbase across Asia, he’s become a spokesperson for many major brands including L’Oreal, Puma, Cadillac, Bobbi Brown, and Calvin Klein. Fans can look forward to seeing more of Greg in the upcoming Chinese romance film “My Love” starring alongside Zhang Ruo Nan. The 30-year-old star also recently returned to his singing roots and released his first single titled “Yesterday No More.”
Start watching him in “Someday or One Day”:
Zhang Xin Cheng
Known as our “second brother” He Zi Qiu from the critically-acclaimed heartwarming family drama “Go Ahead,” actor Zhang Xin Cheng (Steven Zhang) is one of 2020’s biggest rising stars. Earlier in the year, Zhang Xin Cheng already gained millions of new fans after starring in the popular sports romance drama “Skate Into Love,” which elevated him to Internet boyfriend status with his portrayal of passionate hockey player Li Yu Bing.
As a graduate of the prestigious Central Academy of Drama, majoring in Musical Theater, and the renowned Beijing Dance Academy, the talented actor is not unfamiliar to audiences. He is known for his memorable roles and impressive acting skills. After signing with entertainment giant, EE-Media, Zhang Xin Cheng made his drama debut in the 2016 fantasy-romance drama “Shuttle Love Millennium.” In the following year, Zhang Xin Cheng landed his first lead role in the 2017 award-winning youth drama “My Huckleberry Friends,” earning him the Best New Actor award at the iQiyi All-Star Carnival.
His popularity soared even further this year after starring in “Go Ahead” where he received astounding praise from viewers for his incredible and touching portrayal of the beloved character He Zi Qiu, showcasing his kindhearted, affectionate, and pure personality. Many would agree it is definitely one of Zhang Xin Cheng’s best performances in his acting career!
We can look forward to seeing more of Zhang Xin Cheng as he recently finished filming “The Justice” with Cai Wen Jing. Currently, he is filming the fantasy rom-com drama “The Day of Becoming You” where he plays a popular boyband leader who swaps bodies with an entertainment journalist, played by “Eternal Love” star Liang Jie.
Start watching him in “Go Ahead”:
Ding Yu Xi
Lovingly nicknamed as our “May Boyfriend” by netizens, actor Ding Yu Xi‘s (Ryan Ding) popularity exploded this year after starring in the hit fantasy romance drama “The Romance of Tiger and Rose.” He’s a graduate of the prestigious Shanghai Theater Academy and made his official acting debut in the 2017 romantic suspense film “The Game of Asura.” The rising actor is currently signed to Enlight Media, a major TV program and film production company.
Ding Yu Xi initially wanted to work behind-the-scenes after graduating from the Directing program at the Shanghai Theater Academy, but he discovered a strong passion for acting after he appeared in various commercial advertisements. He started to gain prominence after starring in the dramas “New Smiling Proud Wanderer” and “Just an Encore” which was well-received by audiences. Although he is still considered a rookie actor, the 25-year-old has been highly praised for his versatility in acting. In 2018, Ding Yu Xi proved his acting chops after winning first place on “I Actor,” a survival training reality show for newcomer actors and actresses.
His popularity skyrocketed this spring, as all three of his dramas – “Serenade of Peaceful Joy,” “Intense Love,” and “The Romance of Tiger and Rose” – aired in May. Viewers loved his charming portrayal of all three of his characters, but it was his performance as Han Shuo in the “The Romance of Tiger and Rose” that captivated people’s hearts. His adorable and protective character as well as the sizzling onscreen chemistry with his co-star, Zhao Lu Si, had fans’ hearts racing. The drama was an unexpected hit, garnering a 2.1 billion viewership. Fans begged for a second season of “The Romance of Tiger and Rose” and their prayers were answered as the sequel was confirmed back in August.
Fans can look forward to seeing Ding Yu Xi again soon, as he is currently filming the upcoming modern romance drama “Moonlight” with popular actress and THE9 idol star Esther Yu.
Start watching him in “The Romance of Tiger and Rose”:
Next is Taiwanese actor Simon Lian (Lian Chen Hsiang), who is most well-known for being a former member of the idol group SpeXial. He was scouted to join the boyband while he was working at a clothing store and made his official debut in 2014. In the same year, he also made his acting debut in the drama “Angel ‘N’ Devil.” He went on to star in other shows including the historical drama “Men With Swords” and the sports drama “High 5 Basketball.”
After completing his mandatory military service, Simon announced in 2017 that he officially left SpeXial and terminated his contract with Comic International Productions. Since leaving his group, Simon has been focusing on his solo career after signing with Warner Music Taiwan and Top Fun Entertainment.
Even though he’s been in the entertainment industry for over six years, it’s only this year that he’s been making headlines as a big rising star both in the music and acting world. Simon’s popularity soared after starring in the hit fantasy drama “Lost Romance,” giving drama fans a serious dose of Second Lead Syndrome with his sweet and charming portrayal of Duan Mu Qing Feng. Fans of the Qing Feng-Xiao En ship will be pleased to know that Simon recently released his new single “Walk Away,” and the music video features his good friend and “Lost Romance” co-star Vivian Sung.
Start watching him in “Lost Romance”:
Historical-fantasy drama “Love and Redemption” proved to be an unexpected massive hit this summer, and it pushed lead actor Cheng Yi to unprecedented fame. According to a poll conducted by Weibo, “Love and Redemption” was voted by netizens as the No. 1 favorite drama of the year. Viewers fell in love Cheng Yi’s portrayal of the hugely loved character Yu Si Feng. His charming, ethereal demeanor and top-notch acting earned him legions of new fans.
Cheng Yi is also a graduate of the renowned Central Academy of Drama and made his acting debut in the 2011 historical-romance drama “Beauty World.” It wasn’t until 2016 that he garnered popularity after starring in the hugely popular historical-fantasy drama “The Legend of Chusen.” Cheng Yi won the Best Newcomer Award at the 7th DoNews Award Ceremony that same year. He went on to star in the dramas “The Lost Tomb II: Explore with the Note,” “The Promise of Chang’an,” and the film “The Big Rescue.”
The talented 30-year-old actor also made his debut as a singer in 2017 with the single “Goodbye to the Past.” He also participated in the OST of “Love and Redemption” with the song “Guard.” Cheng Yi also sang with his co-stars Hou Ming Hao and Zhang Bo Yu for the ending theme song “Life is Like a Storm” for “The Lost Tomb II: Explore with the Note.”
Fans of the actor can look forward to seeing Cheng Yi work with his “Love and Redemption” co-star Zhang Yu Xi for the third time, as they are currently filming the upcoming modern drama “South Wind Knows My Mood.” This will be the second time the two play an onscreen couple, as they recently completed filming the historical drama “Awakening Chang’an” in October.
Start watching him in “Love and Redemption”:
Luo Yun Xi
Known by fans for his stunning visuals and diverse acting range, our next hottest rising actor is Luo Yun Xi (Leo Luo). For the 32 year old, his foray into the entertainment industry was not an easy one. Hailing from a performing arts family, Luo Yun Xi started learning ballet from the age of five, due to the influence from his father, a dance teacher. He trained professionally in ballet for 11 years and was admitted to Shanghai Theater Academy, majoring in ballet. After graduating, he worked as a dance teacher at the School of Dance of Macao Conservatory. A year later, he decided to change career paths after his friend convinced him to become a trainee. Luo Yun Xi made his debut in 2010 in the boyband JBOY3, but the group failed to gain popularity and eventually disbanded in 2012.
Switching career paths once again, Luo Yun Xi transitioned to become an actor. He was relatively unknown until he landed the antagonist role Ren Yu in the hugely popular historical-fantasy drama “Ashes of Love” in 2018. He received critical acclaim and great reviews in his portrayal of his morally ambiguous character. In 2020, Luo Yun Xi’s popularity escalated after starring in the modern romance drama “Love is Sweet,” playing the domineering but romantic executive director Yuan Shuai. Fans fell in love with his portrayal of Yuan Shuai, who appears strict on the outside but is actually a big softie whose been secretly in love with childhood friend Jiang Jun (Bai Lu) for 10 years.
Luo Yun Xi’s next upcoming drama is the modern drama “Broker” with Victoria Song. He recently completed filming the highly-anticipated BL historical-fantasy drama “Immortality” alongside Chen Fei Yu. He also started filming the modern romance drama “Lie to Love” with Cosmic Girls member Cheng Xiao. The multi-talented star revealed in a recent livestream that he’ll be holding a concert in celebration of his 10-year anniversary debut.
Start watching him in “Ashes of Love”:
Next on our list is actor Gong Jun (Simon Gong), who starred in two well-received dramas this year: campus romance drama “The Love Equations” and the contract-marriage drama “Begin Again.” He graduated from the Department of Performance at Donghua University and made his acting debut in the historical drama “Sword Chaos.” Ever since he entered showbiz, Gong Jun has attracted the attention of many viewers for his handsome looks, warm and sweet personality, and natural acting skills.
Gong Jun gained recognition in 2017 after starring in the BL drama “Advance Bravely” as well as for his role as the 11th Prince Yuan Che in the historical-fantasy drama “Lost Love in Times.” Due to the popularity of the drama, Gong Jun starred as the main character in a 12-episode spin-off of “Lost Love in Times” called “Ling Long’s Exquisite Drunken Dream.” In the same year, he also made his big screen debut in the sci-fi suspense film “Rebirth Partner.” His popularity has been on a steady rise, and last year’s romantic-comedy drama”Instead of Tipsy Why Not Get Drunk” only helped his fanbase to grow.
Fans of the BL genre should get excited, as Gong Jun will be starring in the upcoming historical-fantasy drama “A Tale of the Wanderers” with Zhang Zhe Han. The drama is an adaptation of a BL novel “Tian Ya Ke,” written by a popular novelist named Priest. Currently, Gong Jun is filming the modern drama “The Flaming Heart” where he plays a firefighter named Huo Yan who meets and falls in love with an emergency doctor named Yan Lan, played by Zhang Hui Wen.
Start watching him in “The Love Equations”:
Zhao Yi Qin
Actor Zhao Yi Qin is another steadily rising star ever since he made his debut in 2016 with the crime-thriller drama “Memory Lost.” He is a graduate of the 15th performance class from the Communication University of China. He is labelmates with Song Wei Long and signed with Huanyu Film in 2016. He started to gain recognition for his supporting roles in the historical drama “King is Not Easy” and the modern romantic-comedy “Accidentally in Love.” Zhao Yi Qin’s popularity rose last year through the historical drama “The Legend of Haolan,” where he played Prince Yi of Zhao, a honorable, romantic, and loyal character. He attracted many viewers with his good looks and acting skills, despite being in the industry for only three years.
Zhao landed his first leading role in the 2019 modern romance drama “My Youth” where he received positive reviews for his portrayal of the cool and charismatic but protective Lan Tian Ye, furthering his rise in popularity. 2020 is Zhao’s biggest year yet, as four of his dramas were all broadcast this year: the historical romance “Fake Princess,” modern romantic comedy “My Girl,” historical suspense drama “Love Story of Court Enemies,” and the thriller romance “Consummation.” “My Girl” in particular was quite well-received as it reunited Zhao Yi Qin and Li Jia Qi as an onscreen couple for a second time. They previously played the OTP in “My Youth.” We can look forward to seeing more of Zhao Yi Qin in the upcoming modern romance drama “Sweet Sweet” alongside actress Ding Yi Yi.
Start watching him in “My Girl”:
We couldn’t exclude Taiwan’s next generation star Patrick Shih (Shih Po Yu), who is also dubbed by the media and netizens as the “Nation’s Boyfriend” along with Greg Hsu. The young actor is known for his resemblance to Park Seo Joon, and his fame exploded for his spectacular and moving performance in “Someday or One Day” as the enigmatic second lead character Mo Jun Jie. Just like Greg, the 184 centimeter (approximately 6 feet) star also debuted as a model before transitioning into acting.
Prior to joining the entertainment industry, Patrick studied at Fu Jen Catholic University, majoring in Chemistry. He is managed by Eelin Entertainment and made his official acting debut in the 2016 e-sports youth drama “Gamer’s Generation.” Patrick gained a fanbase after starring in the BL drama series “HIStory2: Crossing the Line” in 2018. After the huge success of “Someday of One Day,” Patrick has been receiving love calls from China and has appeared on many popular variety shows like “Happy Camp,” “Super Nova Games,” Everybody Stand By 2,” and “Chuang 2020.” The highly sought-after actor is currently filming the upcoming Chinese fantasy romance drama “First Love Again” alongside Chen Hao Yu.
Start watching him in “Someday or One Day”:
Last on our list, but certainly not the least, is actor Deng Chao Yuan (Aaron Deng). Out of everyone on the list, Deng Chao Yuan is the newest actor as he just made his acting debut this year! He graduated from Sichuan Film and Television Academy, and in 2018 he signed with Beijing Show City Times Entertainment Ltd. Deng Chao Yuan first became known to audiences after participating in the second season of the survival reality show “Idol Producer,” where he ranked 13th.
The rookie actor first made his acting debut in the sports romance drama “Love of Summer Night” that premiered in June. But it was his role in the campus romance drama “Professional Single” as the cold but sweet perfectionist sculptor Qin Shen that really helped to increase his recognition and popularity. In addition, “Professional Single” was in the Top 10 Chinese Drama List for the month of October and November.
Deng Chao Yuan also participated in the “Professional Single” OST, singing the insert song “This is Me.” He also released his two singles last year “Super Talk” and “Burning Light. This year he released his latest rock-ballad song “Don’t Forget Me,” as a way to express his gratitude toward his fans. You can catch him in the upcoming modern romance drama “Meeting You Loving You” starring alongside Zhao Yao Ke that follows the story of a couple that gets a second chance at love after heartbreak during their youth.
Start watching him in “Professional Single”:
Hey Soompiers, who are some of your favorite Chinese and Taiwanese rising actors of 2020? Let us know in the comments below!
blacksesame88 is a long-time Asian drama and entertainment addict. She enjoys discussing her favorite dramas and sharing her knowledge of Asian entertainment. When she’s not watching dramas, she’s busy snapping aesthetic photos of delicious food on Instagram. Follow her on Twitter and join her for recaps of the current dramas she’s watching, also feel free to say Hi and have a chat!
Currently watching: “You Complete Me,” “Falling Into You,” and “Uncanny Counter”
All-time favorite dramas: “Go Ahead,” “Nirvana In Fire,” “Queen In Hyun’s Man,” “A Witch’s Romance,” “Love O2O,” “Skate Into Love” and “My Mr. Mermaid”
Looking forward to: “Legend of Fei,” “Ancient Love Poetry,” “Glory of the Special Forces,” “The Oath of Love,” and “Octogenarians and the 90s”