Basketball superstar Yao Ming is using his fame to raise capital at home and abroad. He is among a growing cohort of athletes, supermodels, actors and pop stars in China leveraging their celebrity to tap the country’s lush investor base, the Financial Times reports. Luminaries in the country have succeeded in raising billions of renminbi in recent years as total subscription in China’s private equity industry swells to more than Rmb12tn ($1.8tn) this year. “The fact that celebrities raise money says something about the relationship-driven nature of China and the excess liquidity in renminbi,” said Alberto Forchielli, managing partner of Mandarin Capital Partners, a China-focused investment group. “Celebrities open doors for fundraising and may source deals because people like to be associated with them.” Between the end of 2015 and April this year, the number of private equity funds registered with the Asset Management Association of China has more than doubled to 54,403, according to the association.