Economic development in Xinjiang remarkable

By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | Gwadar Pro Jul 20, 2022

Editor's Note: The author is Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS), Islamabad, and Regional Expert on China, CPEC & BRI.

China’s holistic policies of ‘community” and social development, “multiculturalism”, “ethnic diversity”, balanced regional economic parity, diversification of energy and resources, human capital and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Xinjiang have produced “miracles” for the lives of common people.

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is constantly making "immense" socio-economic development. Xinjiang's GDP in 2021 witnessed a growth of 7 percent year-on-year.

Xinjiang produced 5.13 million metric tons of cotton in 2021, which accounted for 89.5 percent of China's total. In addition, 469,400 tons of photovoltaic materials were produced in the region, an increase of 30.9 percent year on year. Furthermore, Xinjiang is determined to make its promising industries even stronger.

Around 20 percent of global cotton, 40 percent of the world's supply of polysilicon for solar panels, and 13 percent of the global output of wind turbines are manufactured in Xinjiang. About 25 percent of tomato paste, 11 percent of walnuts, and 10 percent of the world's rayon also originate from here. Thus Xinjiang has become a global "manufacturing hub" and "reliable supply chain".

Xinjiang will further develop labor-intensive industries to create more job opportunities during 2022. It plans to further boost the cotton and textiles industries while accelerating the process of building a national-level cotton yarn trade center. The region will support photovoltaic businesses in extending their industrial chains.

According to official Chinese figures, the planned fixed-asset investment in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will reach RMB 900 billion (USD 135.09 billion) this year. It will be channelized into key projects of basic infrastructure as well as strategic emerging industries such as silicon substrate, basic infrastructure, power grid, and new energy industrial bases, as investing plays a pivotal role in driving its overall growth.

The local government will prioritize basic infrastructure construction in transportation, energy, hydraulic engineering, telecommunication and urbanization, according to the local reform and development commission.

It will further transform the socio-economic development of the region. Moreover, the proposed investment in a railway that links Hotan with Ruoqiang county, and the construction of a railway linking Yining county with Aksu Prefecture will be value-addition for achieving greater regional connectivity.

In this connection, Xinjiang has identified seven major projects to build itself into a base for wind and photovoltaic power, and it will encourage investment entities to make full use of the desert and wilderness to construct new energy projects.

It will also encourage electricity consumption industries to elevate the usage ratio of renewable energy resources, and guide newly invested projects to accommodate new energy projects so as to promote green energy, according to the local authorities.

Editor's note:  The writer is Director, The Centre of South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS), Islamabad. Regional Expert: Central Asia & South Caucuses. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

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