Li, the third of four children of a farmer and a seamstress, grew up in Lim Chu Kang. He attended Ghim Moh Primary School and Swiss Cottage Secondary School. After taking the Sankai training course for actors and show hosts in 1986, Li Nanxing joined the acting cohort. His acting kept maturing till he became an A-list TV star, and appeared in many critical and popular hits.
Li Nanxing is probably regarded as the most well-known male actor in Singapore in modern times, and is widely regarded as the King Of Caldecott Hill, alongside Zoe Tay who is the Queen , both having consistently been voted as the 'Top 10 Most Popular Artistes' for their respective genders in the annual Star Awards. Li Nanxing has also won a couple of 'Best Male Actor' awards in the same award ceremony in his career which begun in 1987. In the 2004 Star Awards, he was awarded the All Time Favourite award, together with Zoe Tay and Chew Chor Meng. This award was awarded to artistes who have been able to clinch the Top 10 most popular actress/actors for 10 times.
Some of his more famous shows include ''On The Fringe'', ''The Unbeatables'' series, ''The Magnate'' and ''The Vagrant''; Li has also acted in 6 telemovies to date, and even sang the theme song of several of his shows.
Li has an name, Jonathan, which he seldom uses. He divorced his wife, Yang Libing in 2005, ending a marriage that had lasted 11 years. Li Nanxing and Yang Libing knew each other since 1986 National Day Parade celebration where a lot of artistes took part in. Their first drama together was ''Sunshine After Rain''.
It was announced in 2004 that he was enrolled in New York University where famed Taiwanese director Ang Lee studied in and the university’s applicants are professionals in the media industry whose résumés are vigilantly researched and verified before they are enrolled. Modules he took up ranged from acting, scriptwriting to producing and directing. The ever reticent actor told the media that he is considering going behind the scenes but would not elaborate further.
He is rumored to be in 2009's blockbuster drama ''The Ultimatum'' 双子星 alongside Zoe Tay which debuts 27 May 2009.
* What A Wonderful World 奇异旅程
*2007: - "Favourite On-screen Partners" - shared award with Zoe Tay
*2007: "Screen Heartthrob" of the 1990s era
* 2006: Singapore "Best Actor"
* 2004: Singapore "All Time Favorite Award"
* 2003: Singapore "Most Popular TV Partner" - shared award with Zoe Tay
* 2003: Singapore "Most Popular Actor in Malaysia"
* 2003: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 2002: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 2002: Singapore "Best Actor"
* 2001: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 2000: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 1999: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 1998: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 1997: Singapore "Top 10 Most Popular Actors"
* 1996: Singapore "Top 5 Most Popular Actor"
* 1995: Singapore "Top 5 Most Popular Actor"
* 1995: Singapore "Best Actor"
* 1994: Singapore "Top 5 Most Popular Actor"
* 1994: Singapore "Most Popular Actor"