In 2013, the gross domestic product of Tibet Autonomous Region amounted to 80.767 billion yuan, a figure higher than that of countries like Syria and Oman.
From January to May 2014, Tibet's fixed-asset investment grew by 27.1 percent to 21.875 billion yuan, with fiscal revenue jumping 37 percent to 4.185 billion yuan. Revenue from tourism increased 24.6 percent to 2.433 billion yuan and consumer inflation rose 3.1 percent on average for the same period.
The robust statistics have helped Lhasa, capital of Tibet, earn the title of the "happiest Chinese city" for six consecutive years. Ma Qinglin, deputy director of Tibet's development and reform commission, said that per capital disposable income for urban residents reached 20,023 yuan in 2013 and that per capital income for farmers and herdsmen was 6,578 yuan in the same year.
At a work conference held on June 25, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged to transfer some industries from eastern China to western China in an effort to achieve a coordinated development and to promote urbanization and prosperity in the underdeveloped region.
With the help of the central government, Tibet is readjusting the industrial structure and increasing investment in the industries of pharmacy, mining, handicraft, green food and new energy, said Ma.
Opening overseas market
Having introduced full automatic equipments from Krones AG, a German packaging and bottling machine manufacturer, Green Barley Brewery reduces the need for manpower, which allows one worker to work on one production line, and can produce 200,000 tons of green barley beer every year.
"The water used for brewing is from snow-covered mountains and 50 percent of the ingredients are Tibetan barley," said Luobu Ciren, a staff of the brewery, which was established in 2009 in Lhasa and is one of the key industrial construction projects in Tibet.
Green Barley Brewery’s full automatic equipments introduced from Krones Photo: Wu Jie/Sino-US.com
Despite the fact that Green Barley beer is selling well in the domestic market, the brewery is earnestly trying to enter overseas market. "Our beer was once sold in Japan and the United States, but the export stopped," said Luobu, attributing the failure to regional disparity and high production costs.
In order to attract foreign consumers, the brewery needs to promote industrial upgrade driven by intensive processing, said Luobu.
Green Barley Brewery is one of the companies to be based in the Lhasa Economic and Technological Development Zone, which was established in September 2001 in the western suburb of the regional capital.
The Lhasa Economic and Technological Development Zone follows a principle of making profits without sacrificing the ecological environment. In the process of reviewing project, the economic and technological development zone adopts the one-vote negation system, eradicating the possibility of bringing in high-pollution and high-consumption power projects.
According to statistics, as of the end of October 2013, a total of 1,287 enterprises have registered in the economic and technological development zone, with the accumulated registered capital reaching 25.418 billion yuan. The administration committee of the economic and technological development zone said that resource-based industrial clusters featuring pharmacy, biotechnology, handicraft, green food and specialty processing have been set up in the development zone.
Gongbu Dairy deserves an essential mention when it comes to specialty.
Established in Nyingchi in 2008, the state-of-the-art dairy producer runs businesses covering yak raising, milk production, clabber production and milk beverage processing.
Yogurt made of yak milk is the company's most popular product. "60 percent of the yak milk is bought from herdsmen," said Chi Fumei, the company's technical advisor.
Gongbu Dairy signed purchasing agreements with two yak raising bases and 14 villages in Nyingchi prefecture, which enable the company to buy 300 tons of yak milk every year and help the local herdsmen increase income by 3,500 yuan per year, said Chi, adding that the company's purchasing price is a little bit higher than the market price.
The demand for the yak milk-made yogurt exceeds the supply. Except for Tibet, the yogurt is also sold in Sichuan province's Chengdu and Leshan. "A yak can only produce milk that is one-third of that produced by a cow, which means that we can just manufacture 3 tons of yogurt every day," said Chi.
Chi also said that her company is applying for an organic certificate that represents high product quality. "To get the certificate, we will have the living environment of our yaks, including soil and water, inspected. In the meantime, we should also conduct standardized management on yak raising," said Chi.
Corporate social responsibility
Besides promoting Tibet's economy, the indigenous enterprises have constantly taken on their corporate social responsibility.
A building of Cheezheng Tibetan Medicine Photo: Wu Jie/Sino-US.com
"Being kind, altruistic and conscientious is our company's core value," said Duoji Dunzhu, a worker of Cheezheng Tibetan Medicine, a company that pays much attention to public welfare.
Four percent of the workers of Cheezheng are disabled people, said Duoji.
In 2004, Cheezheng set up a special fund under the China Glory Society, which is used for education and medical care in Tibetan areas. In 2013, the company invested more than 14 million yuan in medical assistance, education, poverty relief, cultural protection and Tibetan medicine development.
The company also established a Tibetan medicine museum and a school of Tibetan medicine in a bid to protect and promote the development of traditional Tibetan medicine.
(The article is translated and edited by Ding Yi)