Western Region 


Tibet

 
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Key Information    
Tibet
     
Tibet
     
For more analytical studies of provincial data, please click on: "Monthly Data" or "Yearly Data"
     
     
Introduction    
The Tibet Autonomous Region is located in the southwest frontier of China, serving as an important gateway to South Asia. It is bordered by Qinghai to the north, Sichuan to the east, Yunnan to the southeast, and countries and regions such as Myanmar, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal in the south and west along an international border of nearly 4,000 km. Tibet is an ethnic minority autonomous region and the majority of Tibetans are followers of Buddhism.   In the past five decades (particularly since the initiation of the reform and opening-up drive), gargantuan changes have manifested in Tibet.
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Economic Overview    
In the past five decades (particularly since the initiation of the reform and opening-up drive), gargantuan changes have manifested in Tibet. However, due to its remoteness and harsh climate, it has the smallest economy in China. In 2006, its GDP reached RMB 29 billion, up 13.4% over 2005.    
     
In 2006, the value-add of agriculture amounted to RMB 5.1 billion, 6.2% higher than 2005, the value-add of industry reached RMB 8 billion, up 22.9% over 2005 and the value-add of services stood at RMB 15.9 billion, up 11.7% over 2005. As can be observed from the figure, the service sector’s share of the economy was greater than that of the other sectors.    
     
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In 2006, fixed asset investment in the region rose by 18.4% to RMB 23.2 billion. Within this figure, private fixed asset investment reached RMB 6.5 billion, a dramatic increase of 99.5% over 2005.    
     
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Retail sales of consumer goods amounted to RMB 9 billion in 2006, an increase of 22.7% over 2005. However, the annual per capita disposable income of urban households stood at RMB 8941, dropping by 5.3% from 2005.    
     
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Major consumer markets are located in Lhasa and Shigatse. Traditional shopping districts are located around Jokhang Square, Beijing Road and Barkhor Street. In Lhasa, Barkhor Street is a famous market for buying small commodities such as carpets, ethnic costumes, and jewelry.    
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Agriculture    
The development of agriculture and animal husbandry has been given top priority in the Tibetan economy. The major agricultural products such as broad bean, barley, wheat, rapeseeds, garlic and mushrooms have great competitive advantage in terms of quality due to several unique natural conditions. In 2006, the annual output of grain was 923,700 tons, a slight drop of 1.1% from the previous year.The Tibetan antelope, wild yak, wild donkey and argali are all rare species unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and are under state protection. Also, the white-lipped deer, found only in China, is a prized rarity. Livestock in Tibet kept a moderate growth in 2006. Annual output of pork and mutton reached 222,100 tons, an increase of 3.5% from 2005.    
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Industry    
Industry still plays an important role in the Tibetan economy although its service sectors have developed rapidly over the last few decades. In 2006, the annual industrial value-add reached 2.2 billion, 16.8% higher than in 2005. Tibetan industrial products such as mineral products, medicine, Qingke barley wine, carpets and building materials are renowned globally. Traditional Tibetan Medicine, in particular, boasts a history of more than 2000 years.    
     
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Services    
On October 15, 2006, the construction of the 1,956 km Qinghai-Tibet Railway Line was completed. It stretches from Xining to Lhasa, and across the Kunlun Mountains and Tanggulashan. At 960 km above 4000 meters of sea level, it is the world’s highest railway. The completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway makes Tibet more accessible. It is also responsible for 75% of the cargo, which greatly reduces transportation costs.   Tibet has consistently developed and exploited its unique tourism resources, both human and natural.
   
Tibet has consistently developed and exploited its unique tourism resources, both human and natural. The region is home to unique folk-customs and stunningly beautiful natural scenery such as Namtso Lake, the Great Gorges of Yarlung, Tsangpu River, Potala Palace, and Jokhang. Domestic tourists number a whopping 2.4 million, while overseas tourists are far fewer at 154,800. Revenues of RMB 2.3 billion and US$60.9 million have been brought in by the domestic and overseas tourists respectively, with growths of 45.3% and 37.1%.  
     
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Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment    
In 2006, foreign trade was valued at US$0.3 billion, up 59.9% over 2005. Major exports included light industry products, output of livestock products, traditional Chinese medicine and carpets. The main imports were motor vehicles and machinery products. The Tibetan border trade plays an important role in the economy, due to Tibet’s geographic location. In 2006, the total value of imports and exports in frontier trade reached US$ 0.2 billion, up 44.2% over 2005.    
     
In Tibet, priorities for foreign investments are given to the following areas: infrastructure (such as transportation and communications), education, agriculture (plateau agriculture, water-conservative agriculture, food processing) and Tibetan medicine. In 2006, the actual utilized FDI was US$15.2 million. Foreign investments arrived mainly from Nepal, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Denmark, Canada, Australia, and other countries and regions.    
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Major Development Zone    
The Lhasa Economic and Technological Development Zone (LETDZ) is the only development zone in Tibet. It was declared a state-level economic and technological development zone in September 2001. Its total area spans 5.46 sq km and it consists of ‘A’ and ‘B’ regions. LETDZ encourages overseas investments in high-tech, export-oriented industrial projects. Sectors and projects concentrate on the development and processing of agricultural and pastoral products, Tibetan medicine, foodstuffs and tourism products.    
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Education    
Tibet’s educational development has increased the scientific and technological level of the economic sector in Tibet. It has also significantly promoted cultural and ethical progress in the autonomous region.n 2006, a total of 3,843 students graduated from the region’s four universities. The oldest university in Tibet is the Nationality University, which was founded in 1958.    
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Major Cities in Tibet    
There are 7 cities in Tibet. As observed from the table below, Lhasa has the highest GDP among all the cities, with a contribution of RMB 10.2 billion to Tibet’s economy. The following section provides a brief overview of Lhasa.    
     
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Lhasa    
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Introduction    
Lhasa is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is located on the valley plain in the middle reaches of the Lhasa River - a tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpu River. Lhasa has a dozen ethnic groups (e.g. Tibetans, Hans and Huis), 87% of whom are Tibetans. It is known as a “town full of sunshine” and has a picturesque landscape, long history, brilliant culture, unique ethnic customs, numerous scenic spots and strong religious beliefs.    
     
Investment Climate    
Lhasa is rich in natural resources. Its reserves of corundum and geothermal heat rank first in the country, and more than 30 types of minerals such as iron, copper, lead, gold, coal, corundum, plaster stone, sulfur and kaolin have been discovered in the area.The city’s pillar industries include mining, construction, building materials, tourism and ethnic minority handicrafts.
   
     
Important Travel Information    
From Lhasa Airport to:    

- Beijing
- Shanghai
- Guangzhou
- Chongqing
- Chengdu
- Xi’an

5 hours 35mins
5 hours 25 mins
5 hours
2 hours 35 mins
1 hour 50 mins
3 hours 20 mins
   
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