Chinese diasporic newspapers are distributed in more than 63 countries. How can they survive in the social media age? A five-year investigation into 169 Chinese diasporic newspapers across 42 countries revealed five factors: elderly and Chinese audiences unfamiliar with host-land languages are at the core of readership; editors are enthusiastic about their careers; advertisers subsidise these newspapers to reach ethnic Chinese markets; media convergence keeps some newspapers alive; and some newspapers improve content quality to adapt to the social media age. Finally, this research conceptualises two survival paradigms, unveiling how these special media interact with diasporic communities and mainstream societies in a global arena.