Successful entrepreneurs have surpassed pop stars as college students’ idols, a recent China, Fudan University survey has found.

In the survey, which sampled 150 students from different grades and departments in September and October, 96 chose successful entrepreneurs as their idols, 91 added scientists and scholars to the list, while only some 75 opted for stars of stage and screen.

The results toppled the old perception that young college students are most impressed by the stars of shows such as Supergirl Competition.

Considering the extraordinary lengths many student fans go to to generate support for TV talent show stars, such as parading in the street with placards promoting their favourites, the results come as a surprise.

Fudan’s students seemed not to be influenced too much by popular TV shows and new stars, despite the latest Supergirl, Shang Wenjie having graduated from the university last year.

"It’s normal for students to have traditional ideas about the qualities an idol should have they think of idols as people who have made a great contribution to society. These kinds of ideas aren’t easily changed by TV shows," said Zhen Zhiwei, a second-year post-graduate student who conducted the survey.

But students do have new standards for selecting idols. Some students voted for ordinary people and even fictional characters, such as Harry Potter.

"It reveals the diversity of students’ standards," Zhen said. "Under the influence of pop culture, some students now view fictional figures as their idols. They see the same qualities in those fictional figures as in other real people.

"We are also delighted to see that more and more students are concerned with the roles ordinary people play in society. Wealth, social status and fame are not the only standards they use to select idols."

The survey also revealed that most college students do not want to be idols for others. According to the survey, 57 per cent of students do not want to be idols.

"The result can be regarded as a good illustration for why most of them choose successful entrepreneurs and scholars as their idols," said Zhen. "They have high expectations for idols, so they believe that to be an idol means having to take on more responsibilities and pressure than other people, and they are not ready to take so much responsibility yet."