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China Invests US$100b in Developing West

China has invested 850 billion yuan (US$102.8 billion) for 60 major construction projects in its western areas during the past five years, said the State Ethnic Affairs Commission Friday.

An official with the commission said that since China began to develop the western areas, the central government has increased investment in these areas, especially in ethnic autonomous regions.     

The investment in fixed assets in China's ethnic minority areas amounted to 2.38 trillion yuan (US$288 billion) from 2000 to 2004, growing 21.7 percent annually, according to government statistics.

Meanwhile, a group of major projects, including the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, west-to-east gas and power transmission projects, hydropower plants and trunk roads, have also been launched to boost the development of western areas.

According to the commission, international economic and technological cooperation has been widely expanded in ethnic autonomous areas in recent years. The foreign trade volume in these areas reached 20.9 billion US dollars last year, 1.75 times that of 1999.

The strategy of developing western areas has also helped promote the development of local pillar industries, such as cotton production, coal and natural gas exploitation and wool processing.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2005)


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