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Tibet: Change and Development (Part III)
(23 May 2001)


Industrial Restructuring and Specialty Economy

For a long time, agriculture and animal husbandry were dominant sectors in the regional economy of Tibet. Up to the early 1990s, agriculture and animal husbandry still accounted for half of the region's economy. Since 1994, Tibet has devoted great efforts to adjusting and optimizing the region's industrial structure. Tertiary industry, in which the non-public sector plays an important part, has developed especially rapidly, becoming a major sector generating economic growth.

In 2000, the added value of the region's tertiary industry hit 5.38 billion yuan, nearly tripling that in 1995, and the proportion of the sector in the overall economy rose 12.9 percentage points. As the region became basically self-sufficient in grain, oil and meat, the proportion of primary industry fell 10.2 percentage points.

Effective industrial restructuring in Tibet has been closely connected with the development of the highland specialty economy. In the 1990s, based on the region's actual conditions, Tibet vigorously developed a market-oriented economy with plateau features, making it a major supporting sector in the entire economy of the region. The accelerated construction of tourist infrastructure facilitated the rapid growth of the tourism sector, enabling it to become a pillar industry in the region. Last year, direct earnings from tourism reached 650 million yuan, accounting for 6 percent of the region's GDP for the year. The time-honored traditional Tibetan medicine industry has introduced modern technology, gradually replacing traditional workshop production with modern methods. With its products exported to other parts of the country as well as overseas, the sector has also become a pillar industry with unique regional features.

In the next five years, Tibet will make greater efforts to develop industries with highland characteristics, such as tourism, traditional medicine, plateau biological and green beverages, farm and animal products, ethnic handicrafts and mineral products. These will contribute to the accelerated adjustment, optimization and upgrading of the region's industrial structure, thus fundamentally enhancing Tibet's self-development capability.

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