Zhang Ziyi China's gift to Hollywood
Name: Zhang Ziyi
Date of birth: February 9, 1979
Place of birth: Beijing
Hobbies: diving, skiing
Favourite food: ice cream
Favourite movie: Chicago
Zhang Ziyi, who studied drama and dance for 10 years, won the appreciation of famous mainland movie director Zhang Yimou in 1999. He gave her the leading role in the award-winning The Road Home.
Zhang's debut performance impressed movie critics and won her several Best New Actress awards in film festivals in Asia and overseas.
But the movie that put her on the global stage was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, directed by Ang Lee in 2000. Her dance background helped her perform kung fu stunts in the movie which impressed her experienced co-stars, Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh.
The movie's success in the US and Europe helped her break into Hollywood. She was invited to be a presenter at this year's Academy Awards ceremony and landed the main role in the latest film by Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Memoirs of a Geisha. The film is scheduled for release this autumn.
Some critics believe that the role may enable her to contend for an Oscar in the Best Actress category.
She won the Best Actress prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards in March for her performance in 2046 directed by Wong Kar-wai.
Zhang was on the list of 100 most important people who 'shaped the world' in the past year by Time magazine. The magazine described her as 'China's gift to Hollywood'.
Zhang's relationship with Eric Fok Kai-shan - who is four years younger than her - has attracted much attention. Fok's grandfather is tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung.
Before meeting Fok, she was rumoured to have had close relations with Zhang Yimou and action star Jackie Chan.