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Thriving Tibet ep.1: What next after infrastructure investment?

Reporter: Cheng Lei 丨 CCTV.com

08-16-2016 16:54 BJT

The Tibetan economy is thriving -- thanks to 20 billion dollars of infrastructure built over the past five years, which paves the way for more investments and tourism. But once the dust settles, will the economy have staying power of its own? 

Roads, bridges, railways. Tibet’s construction fever is like the rest of China in the 90s. Easier access is bringing in tourists by the trainload -- 6.8 million in the first half of 2016, up by a third year on year. 

Ta-da, the majestic Potala palace is one of the main drawcards of Tibet's 5 billion dollar tourism industry. But going forward, tourism may not be the only driver of Tibetan economic growth.

Throughout Tibet, are budding signs of entrepreneurship, be it incense making, or weaving of Pulu -- a traditional textile. It’s made easier by tax breaks, training assistance and community spirit.

"Right now, we use traditional materials to produce traditional clothing which is only for locals. next we'll step up training, use the materials to make products that have more international appeal. Going forward, we will use social media and e-commerce to broaden our sales channels," said Suolang Zhuoma, deputy chief of Jie De Xiu town.

"Now we have a company made up of 35 households, each household contributes 10,000 yuan in exchange for stock, the corporate structure will mean better quality and prices of our products. With the company set up, we'll have higher production and better quality, companies will be more likely to work with us," said Kangsang Dawa, party secretary of Tunba Township.

In regional community Kesong, the local economy is half farming, the rest made up of furniture making, light industry and tourism. The area’s party secretary Zhuoma--tells us her biggest concern for her constituency is gaining more training and knowledge.

Education is also a big focus at this orphanage in Shan Nan -- government assistance of 1,000 yuan per month ensures the kids are well-educated and healthy.

This is no ordinary construction site, this is the Tibetan traditional medicine hospital --which is in the process of expanding area size, so its capacity to treat patients would be double that of before.

"The next phase, we'll work on talent and technology to improve the hospital. We'll seek to industrialize more of our research, as well as step up talent training. We have only one post-PHD now, we're looking to have three or four. Our master's student numbers are growing by the year. Our academic structure is improving annually," said Jia Cuo,  administration director of Traditional Tibetan Medicine Hospital.

Welfare spending to shore up the Tibetans’ purchasing power, plus policies to encourage small businesses -- are aimed at keeping the Tibetan economy robust long after the construction stops.

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