Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt moved up eight places and is now ranked as the seventh most popular athlete in the world according to latest ESPN’s World Fame 100 List. Bolt, the eight – time Olympic champion and 11 time World Championships gold medal winner is listed behind leader Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid and Portugal footballer, NBA star LeBron James, Argentina’s Barcelona star Lionel Messi, tennis star Roger Federer, golfer Phil Mickelson and Barcelona and Brazil striker Neymar. The Jamaican, who boasts 30 million followers on social media (Facebook – 19 million; Instagram 6.4 million; Twitter 4.6 million) holds the world records in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. He will hang up his spikes later this year at the World Championships in London, England. Bolt brought in an estimated US$30 million in endorsement funds. Bolt was ranked as the 15th most popular athlete in the world in last years ESPN World Fame 100 list. The ESPN World Fame 100 is a statistical analysis, of the most famous athletes in the world. Things taken into account include the annual Forbes’ list of the highest paid athletes with weight also going to endorsement deals, social media following and Google search popularity.
Share Cara Smith/HBJInside the Daikin plant in Waller County. The Japanese company makes air conditioning equipment.Japanese companies have escalated their investment in Greater Houston. There are more than 150 Japanese affiliated companies in Houston in fields ranging from manufacturing to energy, according to the Japan-America Society of Houston.For example, Japanese-based firm Daikin last year opened America’s second-largest air conditioner factory in Hockley, about 40 miles northwest of Houston, which will eventually employ some 4,000 people.According to the Japanese government, Japanese firms have created more than 860,000 jobs in the U.S. through direct investment – with more than 50,000 of them in Texas – making Japan the No. 1 international job creator here.Bill Weiland, president of the Japan-America Society of Houston, talks with us about Japan’s growing influence here ahead of the annual Japan-American Society of Houston luncheon, which will be held on Friday, Jan. 26, at 11:30 a.m.