China’s highest earning actress, Fan Bingbing, has not been seen in public since July when she was caught up in a tax evasion scandal. Her disappearance has fuelled rumours that the actress has been detained and faces punishment for improper tax filings.
Fan is one of the country’s most well-known entertainers and endorses multiple brands who are keen to get a slice of the burgeoning China market. The actress’ apparent fall from grace creates a headache for the companies she represents.
We look at four brands that have recently been associated with Fan and how they have responded.
The German luxury accessories company only named Fan Bingbing as a global ambassador in April, a few months before she was caught up in the tax evasion scandal.
“This self-confidence, determination and independence are what define the ‘boheme spirit’ and we are delighted to welcome Fan Bingbing to the Montblanc family,” the company’s chief executive Nicolas Baretzki said in a press release about the appointment.
Now with her independence and self-confidence in doubt, Montblanc has dropped Fan, The New York Times has reported.
Fan has had a long relationship with the French fashion house, starting with becoming the company’s first spokeswoman from Asia in 2012. She was a guest at the brand’s catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week in March this year.
Philippe Fortunato, president of the company’s China operations at the time, said that Fan was the perfect Louis Vuitton woman.
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It is not clear if the luxury brand has terminated their relationship with Fan. A perfume advertisement from 2017 featuring the actress is still available on Louis Vuitton’s China website.
The British diamond firm named Fan as an ambassador in late 2017. As recent as May this year, the movie star wore De Beers jewellery to public events.
“We are honoured that Bingbing chose diamonds and De Beers for this prestigious occasion and we are delighted that our long-lasting friendship continues,” said Francois Delage, CEO of De Beers, in a press release referring to Fan’s appearance at the Cannes Film Festival.
The friendship seems to be on rocky grounds as the most recent De Beers store opening in Xi’an, China featured Gao Yuanyuan, another Chinese actress, and not Fan.
The French beauty company is one of the world’s oldest cosmetics brands at 190 years old. Fan was appointed a spokeswoman for the brand in December 2017.
“Thrilled to be the new face of Guerlain,” the actress wrote on Instagram to announce the partnership.
Guerlain filmed a lipstick advertisement with Fan for Chinese New Year this year but the campaign has not been featured on any of Guerlain’s official social media and was instead posted to YouTube by a Fan Bingbing fan site.
There have not been any mentions of Fan Bingbing by the French brand since the scandal.