Chen thus became the first Chinese since Li Xuerui to be world No.1. The now-retired Li last occupied that spot in June 2015.
Chen was ranked No.4 at the beginning of the year and stayed within the top 5 through the year. There were signs of what was to come when she beat two-time champion Tai Tzu Ying in the final of the All England. She went on to win the Swiss Open, Australian Open and Thailand Open, followed by a hat-trick of titles at the end of the year – capturing the Fuzhou China Open, Hong Kong Open, and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals. In between her World Tour triumphs, she also helped China recapture the Sudirman Cup trophy.
Tai Tzu Ying, Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara are immediately behind Chen in the rankings.
Others in the top 10 are Ratchanok Intanon, Pusarla V Sindhu, He Bing Jiao, Michelle Li, An Se Young and Carolina Marin.
There was little movement in the top 10 of men’s singles, with 11-title winner Kento Momota strengthening his position at the top, followed some distance behind by Chou Tien Chen and Olympic champion Chen Long.
Two Danes – Anders Antonsen and Viktor Axelsen – are in fourth and fifth, followed by two Indonesians – Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting.
Shi Yu Qi, Ng Ka Long Angus and Kanta Tsuneyama complete the top 10.
The big movers in men’s doubles are Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. The Malaysian pair, who qualified to the World Tour Finals, jumped four spots to No.8. Fellow-Malaysians Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong moved up one spot to No.10, while Hong Kong Open champions Seo Seung Jae/Choi Solgyu also jumped up one spot to No.9.
World Tour Finals winners Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan maintained their ranking at No.2, just below eight title winners Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
In women’s doubles, Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan extended their lead over the second-placed Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota thanks to their victory in Guangzhou. The Chinese had a 3,000-point lead going into the World Tour Finals but are now over 6,000 points ahead.
Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong, the standout pair in mixed doubles, continued to dominate the rankings, and are unchallenged at No.1 with 111,802 points, over 12,000 points clear of their compatriots Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping.
The top 10 in mixed doubles has representation from seven countries/Member Associations – China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong China. The highest national diversity in the top 10 is seen in women’s singles, with players from eight Member Associations – China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Thailand, India, Canada, Korea and Spain.