A scene of Ningdong energy and chemical base in Ningxia. [China Daily]
Though relatively small in size and output, Ningxia Hui autonomous region "has promising prospects for further development thanks to its energy, agriculture and tourism", said Wang Zhengwei, chairman of the region.
Ningxia in northwestern China is the only autonomous region of the country named after its Muslim community. Of the 6.1 million people, Muslims account for 36 percent of the population.
The capital Yinchuan is known as a city of lakes north of the Great Wall that is now a pleasant and enterprising city. The autonomous region's growth has exceeded the national average for nine consecutive years.
Ningxia is rich in coal, water and mineral ores. Its coal reserves rank fifth in the country, with its Ningdong field, one of the country's top six deposits, a rich source of industrial coal. Its 56 types of ore deposits rank it fifth on the mainland.
The regional government approved Ningdong field as a center for large-scale energy and chemical development in 2003.
The region uses 10 percent of water from the Yellow River as it flows by, and has vast grasslands and undeveloped land reserves. The rich land, water and sunshine are favorable for the cultivation of fruit and grain as well as animal husbandry.
The region produces grapes, wolfberries, potatoes, rice, corn, wheat, sheep and cattle. It also produces half of the world's cashmere.
The Yellow River, the mysterious Xixia civilization, Muslim folklore and craggy deserts offer a different China that attracts tourists.
The region is called a "Great Wall museum" for its relics from various dynasties ranging from 2,000 to 200 years ago.
Shahu Lake tourism zone is a combination of water and sand hills. Shapotou, where the Yellow River meets the desert, is famous for its methods to control sand encroachment.
The eastern side of the Helan Mountains is home to mausoleums of Xixia Dynasty (1038-1227), rock paintings from ancient times and a former fort that serves as a movie set.
"Over the years the regional government of Ningxia has made huge efforts to optimize the environment for development, and created favorable conditions and an enterprising land for investors and overseas business communities," said Wang.
He added that the creation of an efficient and honest administrative environment is crucial to those conditions. Favorable policies for businesses in land use, taxation and energy "create an environment that clears obstacles for businesses and builds up the concept of emphasizing commerce", he said.
The regional government has ensured a legal environment that guarantees the rights and interests of businesses. It has also implemented a sound infrastructure program that integrates roads, air travel, telecom service and other systems.
According to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), the region will further develop the Ningdong energy and chemical center, a base for new materials and sites for specialty farm produce.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. To mark the occasion it will host the China (Ningxia) International Halal Food/Muslim Commodities Festival and the Ningxia Investment and Trade Fair in the regional capital Yinchuan from September 10 to 13.
During the fair there will be a forum on the global development of Muslim commodity industries, the first China (Ningxia) gathering for Muslim businesspeople, the second China (Ningxia) Cashmere Expo, the fourth Western China Specialty Agriculture (Ningxia) Show, a forum on shifting industries from the east to the west, and Ningxia-Taiwan trade talks.
The regional government hopes to showcase the culture, investment environment and growth potential of Ningxia to attract more businesses and investment.
"We will continue to follow the principles of providing warm services and seeking joint development and offer choice projects that conform to State policies, publicize our good market prospects and investment returns," said Chairman Wang, who is also director of the organizing committee.
"We sincerely invite all guests and friends to visit Ningxia, enjoy our beautiful scenery while making investment and holding talks, getting close to Xixia history, appreciating local folklore, and having a taste of Muslim cuisine. We believe the guests and friends will find the tours worthy in all aspects," he said.
Irrigated land of Ningxia along the Yellow River. [China Daily]