|Vice President of Xinhua News Agency Zhou Xisheng speaks during a ceremony to mark the unveiling of the new headquarters of Xinhua News Agency North America Bureau at the Nasdaq Market site in New York May 19, 2011. The new headquarters of Xinhua News Agency North America Bureau is in a skyscraper in Times Square. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)
NEW YORK, May 19 (Xinhua) -- The North America regional headquarters of China's Xinhua News Agency formally launched its new office in Manhattan's Times Square on Thursday, taking a spectacular spot in this center stage of world-class media.
"Today's opening of the new office of Xinhua North America is an important milestone on Xinhua's development path," said Zhou Xisheng, Xinhua vice president and executive deputy editor-in-chief, who headed a high-level delegation from Beijing for the opening ceremony.
On behalf of Xinhua President Li Congjun, Zhou extended a warm welcome and sincere appreciation to those present at the ceremony, held in the spacious atrium of the office floor overlooking the Hudson River and the Times Square "crystal ball" which drops each year on New Year's Eve in New York City's trademark countdown celebrations.
"This new office will give a big boost to the news operations of Xinhua North America, while also facilitating the direct communication, exchange and cooperation between Xinhua and our colleagues in the United States," added Zhou, who served as head of the Xinhua UN Bureau more than a decade ago.
"Starting this year, our staff reporters won't have to brave the freezing temperature outdoors in order to catch the exciting moment of the annual ball-dropping ceremony ... but can stay inside this office, have a cup of coffee and do live reporting through these windows," he quipped.
According to the vice president, Xinhua in recent years has actively adapted itself to the changing scenario of global media competition, and has undertaken strategic transformation in a comprehensive manner, in a bid to build itself into a world-class, all-media news corporation.
Also addressing the ceremony, Ambassador Li Baodong of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations said that the new office " marks a new beginning for an even better future for the development of Xinhua North America, and lays a solid foundation for Xinhua News Agency to further lift its profile, competitiveness and communication capabilities."
Ambassador Peng Keyu of the Chinese Consulate-general in New York, Tom Gallo of the U.S. State Department Office of Foreign Missions, and President of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Steve Orlins were among nearly 100 guests to the ceremony.
Media and business big-names such as Thomson Reuters, NBC News Channel, Coca-Cola, Boeing and Nikon all sent in senior representatives to extend best wishes for Xinhua's future.
Earlier in the day, Zhou and the Xinhua delegation, joined by Ambassador Peng and Orlins, rang the NASDAQ Stock Market's opening bell to celebrate the new office launch.
Located on the 44th floor at 1540 Broadway, the new office of Xinhua North America is at the heart of Times Square, which is also home to media heavyweights like Thomson Reuters and The New York Times.
Xinhua, which will celebrate its 80th birthday later this year, first sent its reporters to New York for regular news coverage in 1971. The old office was located in Woodside, New York.
Currently, Xinhua employs some 16,000 people, with more than 30 domestic bureaus and over 140 overseas. It has seven bureaus in the United States and three in Canada.