China Daily's U.S. version prints daily in New York and weekly in other cities across the country.

Lyndon Cao jokingly calls China Daily USA a “26-year-old startup.”

One of the most widely read and cited English-language newspapers in China, China Daily opened offices in New York in 1983 to distribute papers, but it wasn’t until this February that it launched an edition tailored to the U.S. market.

Mr. Cao, who became president of the U.S. operation three years ago, is treating the company like a brand new venture. China Daily USA is still based in New York, but it has hired about 30 freelancers to gather content from key markets around the U.S., including Atlanta

The paper has run articles on such topics as the “Terracotta Army” exhibition at the High Museum of Art, protests by Chinese-Americans at CNN headquarters and gestures of goodwill toward China by the Georgia Legislature

On Aug. 4, the Atlanta office of the U.S. Commerce Department‘s Minority Business Development Agency honored China Daily USA for its focus on the Southeast

The “media cornerstone” award is given based on how well the nominated media organizations overcame economic challenges to raise awareness about minority business enterprises in the Southeast, said Sandra Sanders, a business development specialist at the MBDA’s Atlanta office. 

Mr. Cao received the award at a luncheon on “International Trade Day,” the second day of the 27th annual Minority Enterprise Development Week event at the Hyatt Regency downtown. MED Week is a yearly celebration recognizing the ways minority entrepreneurs have contributed to their communities and the U.S. economy. Each of the agency’s five network offices and its headquarters have similar celebrations, Ms. Sanders said.  The second-day speakers shared tips on how minority companies can go global. 

Mr. Cao said China Daily USA won the award because although it publishes nationally, the paper has focused on the local Chinese experience in America.

“It’s an honor for us,” Mr. Cao told GlobalAtlanta. “We won this award because we focused mainly on Chinese-Americans and wrote about their successes, their pains and their challenges.”

He acknowledged the hundreds of local Chinese papers throughout the country that keep a finger on the pulse of their specific communities, but China Daily has an entirely different audience, he said.

For one, it’s published in English.

“That way, we can convey the news to people who don’t read Chinese. That’s our niche,” Mr. Cao said.

China Daily USA wants to become the go-to resource in the U.S. for “all things China,” providing solid information for experts and policy makers as well as lighter articles that highlight China’s cultural impact in the U.S., he added.

But most of the paper’s content is geared toward its largest contingent of readers, decision makers in small- to medium-sized companies in the U.S. with an interest in China, Mr. Cao said.

To reach this crowd, China Daily USA will soon publish a special section examining the vitality of U.S.-invested Chinese companies like those that have set up shop in Georgia in recent years.

Because it is so niche-focused, China Daily USA’s print circulation has started small. It’s up to 3,000, but that number will easily grow to 5,000 by the end of the year, Mr. Cao said. Its daily e-mail newsletter has 20,000 subscribers and should grow to 50,000 in the same period.

Mr. Cao is no stranger to Chinese affairs. A native of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, he became a diplomat after graduating with a degree in English literature from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

From 1996-2002, he worked in the China Foreign Ministry’s United Nations department and was stationed at the U.N. in New York, where he often contributed to the ongoing dialogue on peacekeeping issues.

After his time in the foreign service, he led the public branding practice for Ogilvy Public Relations in Beijing. He joined China Daily USA in 2006.

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As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...