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Tibet Turns to Foreign Investors

In the next five years, Tibet hopes to become a hotspot for foreign investors. With some 100 billion yuan (US$12 billion), Tibet plans to push China’s Western Development Project forward with a focus on infrastructure construction such as transportation, energy, telecommunication, agriculture, livestock husbandry and climate control, according to Tsedo, an official of the Economic Coordination Office of Tibet Autonomous Region.

This Tibetan official said that since the beginning of China’s open and reform policies, Tibet has established sound economic relations with the outside world, and foreign investment has become an important factor in the region’s development. More than 120 foreign-funded enterprises have settled in Tibet with more than US$100 million flowing into the region. The investment, focused on agriculture, livestock husbandry, textile industry, minerals and tourism, is mainly from Nepal, Japan, France, Germany, the United States and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the economic cooperation between Tibet and international organizations and foreign governments has been thriving, especially since the 1990s. By the end of last year, the number of collaborative projects had reached 70, covering fields like culture and education, postal service, telecommunication, irrigation and technological improvement of the manufacturing sector. The total assistance fund hit US$100 million.

The Chinese government has not only offered Tibet preferential policies but also has given substantial financial support. In recent five years, 22.6 billion yuan (US$ 2.7 billion) has been invested in this region, helping Tibet’s economy improve steadily.

Tibet boasts abundant natural resources. There are 494,000 acres of arable land, 18.8 million acres of forest, 2 billion cubic meters timber as well as 6,400 species of plants. In addition, as one of China’s five largest prairies, the grasslands in Tibet cover an area of 19,800 acres, which support 23.8 million heads of livestock.

Its white cashmere is well-known in the world as “soft-gold.” Treasures can still be found beneath the earth. One-hundred kinds of minerals have been verified in Tibet; in its forests are abundant herbs for traditional Chinese medicine. What’s more, the unique natural scenery in this region makes Tibet a must on any tourist’s list. All these assets make this remote western region an attraction to investors.

Tibet intends to invite more investment from developed countries, especially the multinational corporations, and welcomes more aid from international organizations, such as UN and EU, said Tsedo, the official of the Economic Coordination Office of Tibet Autonomous Region. This will help with the introduction of new technology and equipment, mergers and acquisitions and stock subscription.

Education, infrastructure and some core industries will be the main focus for future investment in Tibet, the official noted. In education, that will include elementary and higher education, vocational and technical education and adult education. In infrastructure: Irrigation networks, water-supply systems, transportation networks, energy-supply webs. The agricultural industry will undergo extensive development. Also high on the list: Tourism, pharmacy, forestry, mineral industry, handicraft and the high-tech industry

(CIIC translation from a Xinhua News Agency report 07/27/2001)

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