Xinjiang seeks US$8.5b investment for chemicals projects
A semi-military administration set up by Beijing in 1954 in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is seeking US$8.5 billion of investment in five projects to use natural gas and coal in chemicals manufacturing.
Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) was established almost 60 years ago to consolidate border defence and ensure ethnic harmony.
Today it says it sees the development of the region's rich energy resources as a key to industrialise Xinjiang's economy.
Che Jun, the XPCC party secretary, said: "We are targeting to double economic output and per capita gross domestic product by 2015 from 2010, and further double them by 2020."
XPCC has built farms and cities in Xinjiang and provided land and work for disbanded military units. It accounted for more than a sixth of Xinjiang's economic output last year.
Che, conceding that Xinjiang's water shortage was an issue, said XPCC has adapted and localised irrigation technology from Israel and enhanced the cost-efficiency by two thirds.
This would allow water conserved from the agricultural sector, which accounts for 95 per cent of Xinjiang's total water usage, to be used by industries.
He said Xinjiang was not short of water in the absolute sense, but it lacked the infrastructure to keep the immense volume of water that melted from mountain ice and flowed past Xinjiang to other regions every summer.
Despite concerns that chemicals manufacturing would raise pollution, Che said Xinjiang's vast land mass and small population means it had a better capacity to handle pollution than the more developed coastal regions.
The US$8.5 billion of proposed projects is part of US$27.8 billion of projects in various sectors being promoted yesterday.
The Yunnan government also promoted more than 150 investment projects worth tens of billions of yuan in the manufacturing, agricultural, utilities, logistics and tourism sectors yesterday.
Governor Li Jiheng said Hong Kong investors have poured more than US$9 billion into more than 1,500 projects in the past, and Hong Kong has become Yunnan's top business partner, with bilateral trade worth more than US$5 billion last year, eight times higher than in 2011.