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TWOC TV EP. 11: 120 Years of The Commercial Press

In this episode, publishers Zhou Hongbo and Chu Dandan explain the history of China's first modern publishing house


For more than a century, The Commercial Press has been committed to “Opening up people’s wisdom and advanced education,” and actively promoting world languages and cultural exchange.

Founded in 1897 by a coterie of young typesetters in Shanghai, including Xia Ruifang, a man renowned for his business acumen (and mysterious death), The Commercial Press has been a leader in China’s modern publishing industry and one of the most successful publishing companies in the world. In April 2016, the Press’s Xinhua Dictionary broke two Guinness World Records for as the world’s “Most Popular Dictionary” and “Bestselling Book.” Used by almost every Chinese, the Xinhua Dictionary, first published in 1953, was the PRC’s first Chinese dictionary. Over the last 60 years, it has developed more than 200 editions and now has over 567 million copies in circulation—giving rise to the saying “Big country, small dictionary.”

From the date of compilation, the publishers of this “small dictionary” offered ideals for the popularization of national culture and knowledge. The dictionary also embraces the reader as both mentor and friend: Letters and suggestions from the public provided practical references and ideas for the dictionary’s continuous revision and improvement.

The Commercial Press is also responsible for the content you’re reading: The World of Chinese, a magazine whose foreign and Chinese staff present the perspectives of contemporary Chinese in authentic English. In their words, “China is a story, we tell it.”


TWOC TV EP 11: 120 Years of Commercial Press – Part 1

TWOC TV EP 11: 120 Years of Commercial Press – Part 2

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