Yao's grin seems to
be plastered everywhere in China, from cans of Coke to billboards for Visa. A Web site launched by Reebok--www.reebokyao.com--features a "Yao-o-meter" of Chinese support for the star, measuring the
growth in digital sentiments such as clicks and phone messages.
So far, the corporate sponsors are being sympathetic--and cautious. Reebok, which has staked much of its aggressive push into China's giant athletic-gear market on its sponsorship of Mr. Yao, says it's too early to say how the news might affect its marketing plans. Most of the ads featuring Yao that will be aired during the Olympics have already been filmed, marketers say.