Top Combine

Last updated
Top Combine
Occupation Singers, dancers, actors
Years active2007-present
AwardsSee Awards
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 至上勵合
Simplified Chinese 至上励合
Musical career
Also known asTC
Origin Shanghai, China
Genres Mandopop, dance-pop
LabelsRecord Label(s):
DoReMi Media
Manage Label(s):
Past membersCaesar

Top Combine is a Mandopop boy band. The group formed in 2007 with the members Bird Zhang, Mars Ma, Kenny Liu, Caesar Li, and Tanas Kim. All were professionally trained in singing, dancing, modeling, and language. [1] With the exception of Tanas, the other four members were all contestants of the 2007 Super Boy , the male counterpart of Super Girl . [2] [3] Top Combine officially debuted in October 2008 with a performance of their first single "Arrival". In 2012, Caesar left to pursue an acting career, and the five-member group turned into a quartet.


Musical career

2007: The Super Boy competition and formation

Due to the success of the predecessor Super Girl , Hunan TV and record label EE Media decided to produce a male counterpart of the contest. Deemed China's version of American Idol , [3] Super Boy's first broadcast was on May 25, 2007. Zhang Yuan, representing Nanjing, placed ninth in the contest overall, successfully entering the top ten of the finalists round. [4] Although Li Mao of Nanjing, Ma Xueyang of Chengdu, Liu Zhoucheng of Guangzhou, and Gao Wei of Changsha were all eliminated before the final round, it had already been proposed by EE Media for these four contestants to unite as one vocal group. [5] Contestant Yang Fan of Jinan was to join the group as well, but was soon removed from the group. [5] After a few test recordings with the four potential members, EE Media signed them to record contracts, temporarily being added to a group named "Happy Boy Group". Originally, finalist Zhang Yuan was to debut in a thirteen-member vocal touring group called "Happy Top 13", along with the other top thirteen finalists of Super Boy . However, the plan sounded tedious and hence was discarded. Instead, Zhang Yuan was placed as the fifth and last member of the "Happy Boy Group". [6] That same month, the five of them recorded their pre-debut single "Kiss", and performed it at the Super Boy concert in Shanghai.

With the support of South Korea's DoReMi Media, the group was sent to South Korea in October 2007 to undergo vigorous vocal and dance training. [7] It was rumored that EE Media would replace a member from the "Happy Boy Group" with a Korean member, hoping for the group to make a future debut in Korea. For a while, the Chinese media speculated that Zhang Yuan was to be replaced due to his late addition to the group in September 2007. [8] In early 2008, EE Media announced that the rumors of a line-up change were true, and Gao Wei was to be replaced with an anonymous member. [9]

The "Happy Boy Group" returned to China in April 2008 with the announcement of the new member Kim Eun-sung, a Korean trainee under DoRreMi Media who had replaced Gao Wei. The mysterious addition of Kim caused the Chinese media to assume that they were trying to compete against Super Junior-M, causing Korean fans to label Kim as the Korean version of Han Geng. [10] However, EE Media claims that Kim was added to the group due to his special voice and the bond he had formed with the existing members. [11] The addition of Kim in the group caused the group's popularity to rise in Korea, [12] even accepting interviews from Korea's KBS channel. [13]

Right before they recorded their debut single, the group decided on the name Zhi Shang Li He (Chinese :至上励合), literally meaning "supreme combination". The group's English name was finalized to Top Combine and the members also chose English stage names for themselves. Zhang Yuan became Bird, Li Mao became Caesar, Ma Xueyang became Mars, Liu Zhoucheng became Kenny, and Kim Eun-sung became Tanas. [2] Nonetheless, all five members kept the characters of their birth names as their Chinese stage names. Jin Ensheng, the Chinese counterpart to Kim Eun-sung's name in hanja, became his Chinese stage name.

2008: Arrival debut and initial success

Promoted as "China's Number One Motivational Boy Band" (Chinese :中国第一励志天团), Top Combine's debut was both successful and controversial. The group's first single "Arrival" (降临) made its debut global broadcast in Music Radio: China's Top 10 Charts on September 8, 2008, [14] just six days after their official debut. The single peaked at #3 on the charts. [15] While the single was received with much success, the release of the single's corresponding music video on September 20, 2008 earned some ire the first few months of their debut. [16] The color, style, and material seen in "Arrival" is similar to that of the "O" and "Purple Line" music videos by Korean boy band TVXQ. [17] Top Combine were henceforth labeled as copiers by TVXQ fans.[ citation needed ] Later, it was clarified that the reasons for their similarities were because the two groups used the same director, Chun Hyuk-jin.

On October 9, 2008, Top Combine officially debuted on the program Up Every Day (Chinese :天天向上), performing "Arrival". [18] Their debut EP, Arrival (EP) , was released in different provinces of China starting from October 26, 2008. The EP sold very well in China, and the group held their first fan meeting with their fan club "Seraphim" (Chinese :至天使) on November 16, 2008. [19]

The music video of "Cotton Candy", the group's second promotional single, was released in early December 2008. "Cotton Candy" was an original creation by Mars, who composed the piece with his electric guitar and violin and also penned the lyrics. [20] The single charted within the top ten of over five different music charts, peaking at #2, [21] and achieving more popularity than their first single. In the following year, "Cotton Candy" won one of the Song of the Year Awards at Music Radio China's "Pop Music Ceremony" in Beijing. [22]

Top Combine was invited to perform the opening act of the Southeast Explosive Music Awards on November 15, 2008. On November 17, they received their first award at the 9+2 Music Awards. [15]

2009–2011: Grandness Equal to Heaven, first concert, and Lucky Boys

On December 13, 2009, Top Combine released their second record Grandness Equal to Heaven (Chinese :齐天大盛), the name of which is a pun on the name "Great Sage Equal to Heaven" (Chinese :齐天大圣). The album, which is their only full-studio release to date, displayed a blend of Chinese classical instruments and Western rhythms. Four of the songs on the album were composed by Mars, and the other four group members contributed to the lyrics for another song each. [23]

In September 2010, Top Combine traveled to the United States to receive training and to record two singles with American producer Nicholas Cooper for their third studio release, Lucky Boys. While there, the group made an appearance on Los Angeles TV station KTLA's Morning Show, becoming the first Chinese musicians, and the second Chinese artiste after Jackie Chan, to be invited to the show. Their appearance happened to be preceded by a speech from United States president Barack Obama, which caused the live broadcast of Top Combine's performance of "This I Promise You" to be delayed 20 minutes. [24]

After revealing two of their singles on Up Every Day (Chinese :天天向上) in December 2010, Top Combine held their first ever concert. The "Spotlight" (Chinese :主角) Concert was named after their recently released single and was held in the Century Theatre (Chinese :世纪剧院) in Beijing on December 18, 2010. [25]

On April 28, 2011, Top Combine released Lucky Boys, which contained the two songs they had recorded in America at Westlake Recording Studios, [26] as well as three other songs. As with their first album release, Mars composed one of the singles for Lucky Boys.

2012: Caesar's departure, Luck, You Are Here

In June 2012, rumors began to spread that Caesar had left Top Combine, due to a promotional poster that featured the other four members without Caesar. At the time Caesar was heavily involved in stage acting and other events, and so was not with the other group members as often. Top Combine's manager refuted any rumors that the group would disband, explaining that Caesar did not appear on the poster because he would not be able to attend the concert that the poster was promoting. [27]

On September 20, 2012, Caesar announced that he would be leaving Top Combine to pursue a solo career in acting. The decision was made after much consideration with his group members and with his company. The other four members expressed their support of his decision on their Weibo accounts. [28] There are no plans to find a new member to replace Caesar.

On October 29, 2012, Top Combine released their fourth record, Luck, You Are Here (Chinese :还好有你在), their first album after Caesar's departure. The EP was described as their first work in which they pulled away from the Korean and Japanese pop influences that had characterized their previous music, thus allowing them to exhibit a more local and creative quality. [29] The five songs on the album were all composed by Mars, and one of the songs was used as the theme song for Banana Boy (Chinese :成人记), a TV drama in which Caesar acted that began airing in November 2012. [30]








Album InformationTrack listing
Arrival (EP)
  • Released: October 26, 2008
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EE Media, Doremi Media
Track listing
  1. Arrival (Jiànglín / 降临)
  2. Cotton Candy (Miánhuā Táng / 棉花糖)
  3. Next Stop, Forever (Xià Yí Zhàn Yǒngyuǎn / 下一站永远)
  4. Clown (Xiǎochǒu / 小丑)
  5. Kiss
Grandness Equal to Heaven
  • Released: December 13, 2009
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EE Media, Doremi Media
Track listing
  1. Grandness Equal To Heaven (Qí Tiān Dà Shèng / 齐天大盛)
  2. Star-Studded Sky (Fánxīng / 繁星)
  3. Radiance (Guāngmáng / 光芒)
  4. Love Live
  5. Sweetheart (Tiánxīn / 甜心)
  6. Summit of Longing (Sīniàn Zhī Diān / 思念之巅)
  7. Goodbye My Love (Zàijiànle Wǒ de Ài / 再见了我的爱)
  8. Party Time
  9. Child Who Speaks With The Wind (Héfēng Shuōhuà de Háizi / 和风说话的孩子)
  10. End The Fight (Jìn Zhàn / 禁战)
Lucky Boys (EP)
  • Released: April 28, 2011
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EE Media, Doremi Media
Track listing
  1. Lucky Boys
  2. 咬耳朵 (Yǎo'ěrduo)
  3. Darling
  4. 主角 (Zhǔjiǎo)
  5. 在路上 (Zài Lùshàng)
Luck, You Are Here (EP)
  • Released: October 29, 2012
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EE Media, Doremi Media
Track listing
  1. 还好有你在 (Hái Hǎo Yǒu Nǐ Zài)
  2. 还在 (Hái Zài)
  3. 那群傻瓜 (Nà Qún Shǎguā)
  4. 出言不逊 (Chūyánbùxùn)
  5. 关于结束 (Guānyú Jiéshù)


Other Units

E.E. Media Stars - 红星闪闪 (Hong Xing Shan Shan/"Red Star Glimmering")
Release Date: July 2009

E.E. Media Stars - OPEN新年 (OPEN Xin Nian/"OPEN New Year")
Release Date: December 2008

Super Boys (feat. Bird/Zhang Yuan) - 我最闪亮 (Wo Zui Shan Liang/"I'm The Brightest")
Release Date: September 2007


  • Best Dance Group, 9+2 Music Awards
  • Most Popular Group Online, 9+2 Music Awards
  • Most Popular Newcomer Band, 9+2 Music Awards
  • Golden Hit 2008, Beijing Pop Music Awards: "Cotton Candy"
  • Baidu Most Searched New Group Award

Related Research Articles

Yiguandao Chinese salvationist religious sect that emerged from the Xiantiandao

Yiguandao / I-Kuan Tao (traditional Chinese: 一貫道; simplified Chinese: 一贯道; pinyin: Yīguàn Dào; Wade–Giles: I1-Kuan4 Tao4), meaning the Consistent Way or Persistent Way, is a Chinese salvationist religious sect that emerged from the Xiantiandao ("Way of Former Heaven") tradition in the late 19th century, in Shandong, to become China's most important redemptive society in the 1930s and 1940s, especially during the Japanese invasion. In the 1930s Yiguandao spread rapidly throughout China led by Zhang Tianran, who is the eighteenth patriarch of the Xiantiandao lineage, among thousands of other movements that thrived since the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911.

Shandong Luneng Taishan F.C.

Shandong Luneng Taishan is a professional football club that currently participates in the Chinese Super League under licence from the Chinese Football Association (CFA). The team is based in Jinan, Shandong and their home stadium is the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium that has a seating capacity of 56,808. Their current majority shareholder is Shandong Electric Power Group Corporation, the biggest supplier of electric energy in Shandong province and itself part of the State Grid Corporation of China. "Luneng" is the name of Luneng Group, now another subsidiary corporation of State Grid Corporation of China; Lu is a nickname for Shandong, from the ancient state of Lu, while neng means "energy." The last part of the club name derives from Mount Tai.

Zhang Liyin Chinese singer

Zhang Liyin is a Chinese singer and songwriter. At the time of her debut, Zhang was nicknamed the "Chinese BoA" and the next leader of the Korean Wave. She speaks both Mandarin, which is her first language, and fluent Korean, and has released singles in both China and South Korea, singing in both languages.

Xu Liang (footballer)

Xu Liang is a Chinese footballer.

Ham Yu Haoming is a Chinese singer, actor, dancer, and host. He was born in Guangzhou, the largest city of Guangdong province. In April 2007, he participated in Hunan TV's Super Boy and won 6th place nationwide, launching his career. Later, Ming signed with EE-Media and Korea Company Doremi Media and traveled to Seoul, South Korea several times for professional training. In 2007, he played as the male lead in large-scale musical drama. In September 2008, Ham Yu Hao Ming participated in Hunan TV and Hong Kong TVB's co-organized "Strictly Come Dancing Season 2" and became Champion. He is also the host of Hunan TV's variety show "Day Day Up." In 2009, he played as the male lead in the film "China Idol Boys" and the TV Series "Meteor Shower." In the same year, he released his first album, "Hug," which was a co-production by China and South Korea.

Super Junior-T, an initialism for Super Junior-Trot is the second official sub-group of South Korean boy band Super Junior. They are the first idol group known for capitalizing trot music, the oldest form of Korean pop music. Formed in 2007, the group consists of five Super Junior members: Leeteuk, Heechul, Shindong, Sungmin, and Eunhyuk.

Tianjin Tianhai F.C. Chinese football club

Tianjin Tianhai F.C. was a Chinese football club. The team was based in Tianjin.

Super Junior-M Subgroup of the South Korean boy band Super Junior

Super Junior-M, an initialism for Super Junior-Mandarin, is a Chinese sub-unit of the South Korean boy band Super Junior. The sub-unit is the first international music group in the Chinese music industry to have members of both Chinese and Korean descent.

Zhang Xiaorui is a Chinese football manager and a former professional player who used to play for Tianjin Teda, Alemannia Aachen, Shanghai Zobon and Shanghai Shenhua. His first management assignment was with third-tier club Tianjin Tuanbo New City where he was initially brought in as a player-manager before leaving the club at the end of the 2009 Chinese league season.

<i>Jianglin</i> (EP) 2008 EP by Top Combine

Arrival also known as The Advent or Jiang Lin (降临), is the debut EP by Mandopop boy band, Top Combine. The EP was released on October 26, 2008 in People's Republic of China by EE Media. The EP was also released in two separate versions, a "black" version and a "gold" version.

<i>Super Girl</i> (EP) 2009 EP by Super Junior-M

Super Girl is the first extended play (EP) and second overall release by South Korean Mandopop boy band Super Junior-M, sub-group of Super Junior. It was released by SM Entertainment on 23 September 2009. It was released in Taiwan on the same day by Avex Taiwan and in Hong Kong on 25 September by Avex Asia and also in Mainland China. It was the last Super Junior-M album to feature Hangeng due to his lawsuit the same year.

Zhang Linpeng

Zhang Linpeng is a Chinese footballer of Hui ethnicity who currently plays for Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League.

Cecilia Cheung Hong Kong-Australian actress

Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi is a Hong Kong-Australian actress and cantopop singer. Cheung is considered a "Sing girl"—an actress who first received media attention through starring alongside Stephen Chow, and later went on to her own successful career.

Liaoning F.C.

Liaoning Football Club, officially known as Liaoning Hongyun, was a professional association football club with long history in Chinese football. The club can predate their formation to 1953, when Shenyang government sports body joined existing club Northeast China to play in the Chinese national football league. By 1956, the league was gradually expanded and regional sports institutes' own representatives were allowed, which eventually formed Liaoning Football Club. The club won several titles as well as the 1989–90 Asian Club Championship when they beat Nissan Yokohama in the final, making Liaoning FC the first Chinese club to win an Asian club championship trophy. Since February 26, 1994, the team was established as a full professional football club to play in the 1994 Chinese Jia-A League season, making them one of the founding members of the first fully professionalized top tier league in China.

Lay Zhang Chinese singer

Zhang Yixing , known professionally as Lay Zhang or simply Lay, is a Chinese singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, director, dancer, and actor. Zhang has been listed in Forbes China Celebrity 100, where he ranked 20th in 2017, 11th in 2019, and 5th in 2020. He made his debut in 2012 as a member of the K-pop boy group Exo and its Chinese subgroup Exo-M under SM Entertainment. As an actor, he is known for starring in Ex-Files 2 (2015), The Mystic Nine (2016), Kung Fu Yoga (2017), The Island (2018) and The Golden Eyes (2019).


TFBoys, also known as The Fighting Boys, is a popular Chinese idol group that consists of three members: Karry Wang, Roy Wang, and Jackson Yee. The group debuted on August 6, 2013 with their first single album "Start of Love" at the young ages of 12 and 13 years old. Within a year of their debut, Tfboys became one of the most popular artists in China with their hit song "青春修炼手册 Manual of Youth" and gained widespread popularity throughout Asia. The group as a whole have an estimated commercial value of more than US$430 million combined from endorsements and branding as of 2018, and their average sales per member from band merchandises alone amasses more than US$17 million per month.

<i>Idol Producer</i> Chinese boy group competition show

Idol Producer, is a 2018 Chinese male group competition show, which premiered on January 19, 2018 on iQiyi. It is presented by Lay Zhang with Li Ronghao, Jackson Wang, MC Jin, Cheng Xiao and Zhou Jieqiong serving as mentors. On April 6, 2018, the nine highest ranked contestants debuted as Nine Percent.

Yu Xiaoguang Chinese composer and actor

Yu Xiaoguang, also known as Ethan Yu, is a Chinese composer and actor. Yu is a former swimmer and sprint canoer. In 2006 he has made a crossover from sports to films. Yu made appearances on many television series, most notably My Kung Fu Girlfriend (2006), Fighting in Peking (2009), Mao Anying (2010), The Happy Time of the Spicy and Hot Girlfriend (2012), City and Country Life (2014), and Namchow Mechanic Heroes (2015).

Nine Percent was a nine-member Chinese boy group formed by the survival show Idol Producer by iQiyi on April 6, 2018. The group was scheduled to promote for 18 months since formation.

<i>Happy Hotel</i>

Happy Hotel is a 2012 Chinese comedy film directed and written by Wang Yuelun and produced by Song Guangcheng and Li Xiang. It stars Jiang Wu as Qian Shiqiang, the vice-president of a company, along with Ning Jing as his wife. The film premiered in China on August 2, 2012. The film follows the lives of a couple and their networking at a five-star hotel named Lotte Hotel.


  1. "Top Combine reveals first single, professionally trained in Korea". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-09-19. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  2. 1 2 "EE Media produces Super Boy group, name finalized to Top Combine". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-09-02. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  3. 1 2 "China's new Idol: Happy Boys". Marketplace. 2007-05-02. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  4. "Happy Boys' road to entertainment". Xinhuanet (in Chinese). 2007-07-22. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  5. 1 2 "Happy Boy Group eliminates Yang Fan". Sina News (in Chinese). 2007-09-06. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  6. "Top Combine wants to fight with SJ-M". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-09-03. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  7. "China's first vocal group". Net Ease (in Chinese). 2007-07-18. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  8. "Zhang Yuan in risk of elimination, five-member group to add Korean member". Sina News (in Chinese). 2007-11-20. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  9. "Gao Wei missing from Happy Boy Group's EP recording". Qianlong (in Chinese). 2008-03-27. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  10. "Korean fans chase after Top Combine, calls Tanas Kim the Korean version of Han Geng". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-09-19. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  11. "Happy group returns to China with five members". China V Net (in Chinese). 2008-03-19. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  12. "Korean member added to Happy Boy Group". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-04-23. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  13. "Happy Boy Group accepts "crazy" training"". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-04-28. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  14. "Top Combine releases successful single, 'Arrival'". People (in Chinese). 2008-09-08. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  15. 1 2 "Top Combine holds crown at 9+2 Music Awards". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-11-17. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  16. "Top Combine angels "Arrival" protects the world, MV debuts on HunanTV". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-09-21. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  17. "Netizens claim Top Combine's "Arrival" as a copy of TVXQ". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-09-25. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  18. 1 2 "Top Combine makes debut performance, announces Bird Zhang as leader". Wang Yi Entertainment (in Chinese). 2008-10-09. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  19. "Top Combine EP sales a victory, to hold their first fan meeting in Beijing". Sina News (in Chinese). 2008-11-12. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  20. "Introducing Top Combine Mars Ma". (in Chinese). 2009-01-19. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  21. "Sohu Music Charts NO.20". Sohu (in Chinese). 2009-01-24. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  22. "Cotton Candy Wins Song of the Year, Top Combine Modestly Accept Prize". Sina (in Chinese). 2009-01-12. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  23. "Top Combine Releases New Disc 'Grandness Equal to Heaven'". Sina News (in Chinese). 2009-12-14. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  24. "Top Combine Guests at Hollywood, Called China's Most Popular Boyband". Hunan (in Chinese). 2010-09-14. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  25. "Top Combine 2010 Beijing Concert". Chinapiao (in Chinese). 2010-12-18. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  26. "Top Combine Supported by Well-Known Musicians". Sina News (in Chinese). 2010-04-22. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  27. "Top Combine Might Go Solo, Rumored that Li Mao Pushed Aside". Sina News (in Chinese). 2010-06-15. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  28. "Top Combine Li Mao Leaves Group for Movies and TV, Receives Support of Other Members". Sina News (in Chinese). 2010-09-21. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  29. "Top Combine Went Through Much Effort to Record New Album". Sina News (in Chinese). 2010-11-16. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  30. "Li Mao Flies Solo with Banana Boy, Top Combine Supports". Sina News (in Chinese). 2010-10-31. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-02.