Under the aegis of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the People's Education Press published the original Xinhua Zidian in 1953. The linguist and lexicographer Wei Jiangong (魏建功, 1901–1980) was chief editor. In 1957, the respected Commercial Press published the Xinhua Zidian (1st edition), which was alphabetically collated in pinyin order. They have subsequently revised this dictionary ten times, with over 200 printing runs, and it is a longtime bestseller among students in China. In early 2004, the total number of published copies exceeded 400 million, unquestionably making the Xinhua Zidian the most popular dictionary in the world.
Besides their popular concise version Xinhua Zidian, Commercial Press also publishes a large-print edition and a Xinhua Dictionary with English Translation (Yao 2000, reviewed by Clark 2001). In addition, the Shanxi Education Press publishes a pinyin-edition Xinhua Zidian with both characters and orthographically precise transcriptions (Yi et al. 1999).
Yao Naiqiang (姚乃强), ed. Han-Ying shuangjie Xinhua Zidian (汉英双解新华字典), Xinhua Dictionary with English Translation. Beijing: Commercial Press. 2000. ISBN 7-80103-198-9
Yi Ken'ichirō (伊井健一郎), Dong Jingru (重静如), and Yamada Ruriko (山田留里), eds. Xinhua Zidian Hanyu pinyin ban (新华字典汉语拼音版, "Pinyin edition of the Xinhua Zidian"). Taiyuan: Shanxi Jiaoyu Chubanshe. 1999. ISBN 7-5440-0941-6