Xinjiang is a dynamic developing region whose economy is at the take-off state now. The economic scale is not large, scientific and technological power is not strong, and the per capita income is still rather low. It can not be compared with Europe and the United States, and there still lies a great gap between Xinjiang and the coastal regions of eastern China.
Xinjiang is abundant in mineral resources, but for a long time the exploration and exploitation was not adequate and damage to the environment was quite serious. Those exploited mines lack deep processing,additional value of product is low and the industrial chain is rather short. The discovery of some early important mineral deposits may be fortuitous sometimes. For instance, the precious metal deposits in Altay were found because there has always been renowned Golden Mountain; Karamay Oilfield was found since the oil has gushed to the ground like underground springs. In a place called Heiyoushan (Black Oil Mountain) there is still a gush of oil running to the ground, which is a rare landscape in the world.
Xinjiang is China’s largest cotton base and important natural pastures with a variety of good quality cottons and an abundance of high grade furs, meat and milk. Although the scale of Xinjiang’s textile, leather, and meat and milk industry is not small, most industries are in the follow-up development state and haven’t brought the unique advantages of sources of raw materials into full play. There are mainly roughly processed products, few top grade products and fewer super brands or market dominator. Several large and medium leather enterprises ever had quality products and prosperity, but due to fierce market competition they went bankrupt one after another, including Yili Liqun Tannery with a hundred-year history and a great fame in Central Asia.
Xinjiang is abundant in water, soil, light and heat resources and there is a great temperature difference between day and night. It’s an ideal place for fruit horticulture and characteristic agriculture. Xinjiang is known as home of fruits and melons. Although Xinjiang's per capita consumption of fruits is quite large, there is no lack of a variety of fresh fruits on people’s table. However, due to the lack of commodity consciousness, self-satisfaction in the traditional autarkic production and a weak sense of scientific cultivation and management, the pace of quality fruits going to market is quite slow and for some fruits with good reputation in the past the quality is even a step back.
Hami melons Korla pears
Xinjiang has a long border geographically shared with Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia, Mongolia and Russia. There are 17 first-class ports, 11 second-class ports, and the railway artery across Asia and Europe---the Second Eurasian Continental Bridge. However, with these tremendous advantages in border trade and international economic cooperation, the volume of import and export is not very large and foreign investment is not adequate.
In short, there are still many problems and the foundation is rather weak. But Xinjiang’s economic success is quite encouraging. Judging from statistical data, many of Xinjiang’s economic indicators are only mediocre in the whole country but leading in the northwestern China.
Xinjiang's per capita GDP, import and export volume and per capita annual income of urban households rank forefront in the northwestern region.
Xinjiang enjoys a high level of urbanization and youth education. Its per capita medical resources and public green areas are close to the national average.
According to the measure set by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the Engel's coefficient (proportion of income that goes into food) in urban Xinjiang has dropped to 35 percent a few years ago, indicating that the lifestyle of residents in urban Xinjiang has entered a well-to-do society.
More importantly, Xinjiang is not a heavy burden to the country, but a cornucopia of wealth.
Karamay is the first large oilfield since the establishment of the new China, and Tarim, Junggar and Turpan-Hami Oilfields have succeeded as the three major national strategic oil and gas resources in the region.
With the increasing intensity of exploration, the capacity of mineral resources has gradually become clear. Besides rich oil, natural gas, coal and iron ore reserves, large precious metal veins in Altay, mega copper mines in Hami, numerous sylvite mines in Lop Nor and gold mines distributed throughout Xinjiang are becoming new bright spots.
Numerous construction projects in industry, agriculture, water conservancy, transportation, energy and urban construction take place one after another and have greatly improved Xinjiang's infrastructure.
The value of tourism is realized quite late, but once the password “Open Sesame” is found wealth will converge with tourists pouring in. Now the number of domestic and foreign tourists traveling to Xinjiang increases year after year.