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Private Businesses Drive Tibet's economy
Private businesses in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region are playing a bigger role in creating jobs and paying taxes.

Official statistics indicate that between 1997 and 2001, 22,278 people have been employed by the region's private enterprises, where the annual increase in job opportunities averages 5,570.

Of the 5,470 laid-off workers re-employed by the end of 2001, some 700 found jobs in private enterprises.

In 2001, taxes totaling 143.2 million yuan (US$17.3 million) were paid by the region's self-employed and private enterprises, about 16.46 percent of Tibet's total revenue, much higher than the annual average of 14.42 percent.

In Nyingchi Prefecture, the proportion is as much as 50 percent.

As the region's service sector is completely open to private businesses, nearly 60 percent of the turnover from retail trade, or about 2.9 billion yuan (US$349.4 million), is generated by the private industry.

Local people can easily purchase fruit, meat, eggs, poultry, milk and aquatic products from the non-state stores.

However, years ago, restricted by inadequate transportation and natural conditions, Tibet was isolated from the outside world and suffered severe commodity shortages.

To boost the region's economy, the local government has outlined a package of preferential policies to attract businessmen to invest there and promised equal treatment for all newcomers no matter how big their businesses or what their ethnic minorities.

(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2002)

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