The Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of New South Wales








Gansu Province is shown in black.

Note that Chinese names are in MingLiU (Chinese Traditional) screen font.  This may appear as question marks or other symbols if that font is not installed on your browser.

General Profile:

Population: 25,600,000

Provincial Capital: Lanzhou.

Average temperatures: -14 deg C to -3 deg C in January; 11 deg C to 27 deg C in July.

Physical features: The province has an irregular system of hills and basins, all of which contain loess-type soil that is classified as semi-arid.  The central and western regions have a rugged and barren appearance, particularly where the land joins the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the west and the Mongolia Plateau to the north.  Mountain ranges extend along the southern border.  The total land area of the province is 390,000 square kilometres.

Rivers: The Yellow River passes through the central part of the province and is the main waterway.  Others include Others include: Wei, Tao, Bailong, Hei and Shule Rivers.

Administrative divisions: 13 cities, 2 autonomous prefectures, 60 counties and 7 autonomous counties.

Historical significance: The province came under Chinese administration during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) and became part of the trading network associated with the “Silk Road”.  Minority groups in the province include the Hui(回), Tibetan(藏), Dongxiang (東鄉), Yugur(裕固)and Mongolian(蒙).

Major attractions include old outposts such as Dunhuang, which is famous for its Mogao Grotttoes, and the Jiahuguan Pass, which is the western limit of the Great Wall.

Natural Resources:

The main natural resources include petroleum, coal, iron ore and copper.

Economic Profile:




Economic Indicators





(% p.a.)

(% p.a.)

Gross domestic product (RMB bn)


8.3 *


8.7 *

Per capita GDP (RMB)





Disposable income per capita

  - urban (RMB)





  - rural (RMB)





Fixed asset investment (RMB bn)





Value added by sector

  - primary (RMB bn)





  - secondary (RMB bn)





  - tertiary (RMB bn)





Retail sales (RMB bn)





Inflation (CPI,% )



Exports (US$ bn)





  - by FIEs (US$ bn)





Imports (US$ bn)





  - by FIEs (US$ bn)





Foreign direct investment

  - number of projects





  - contracted amount (US$ bn)





  - utilised amount (US$ bn)





Notes: *In real terms
China Statistical Abstract, CEIC database



Water Transport

Railways – Rail is an important means of transport in China’s western region and Lanzhou is a major hub.  It is the intersection point of four trunk railway lines (Lanzhou-Lianyungang/Longhai, Lanzhou-Xinjiang, Lanzhou-Baotao and Lanzhou-Qinghai). 

The international railway between Asia and Europe (the New Asia-Europe Continental Bridge which starts from Lianyungang and joins with the Siberia Railway) also runs across the province.  The Lanzhou Western Goods Station (the largest station for freight transport in northwest China) is the main transit and consolidation hub of containers on the New Asia-Europe Continental Bridge.

A double-track rail system goes westward from Lanzhou and a new double-track line is proposed from Lanzhou to Baoji in Shaanxi Province.  Rail travel time between these two cities is currently about 9 hours.  The new track system will reduce the journey to less than 6 hours.

Roadways Lanzhou is major road centre in the province.  Five provincial-level roadways radiate from the city, linking it to other provinces are either open or under construction.

Air Transport The only airport in the province is in Lanzhou, though the scarcity of flat land places it some distance from the city itself.  It services 37 domestic and overseas destinations. 

Telecommunications Direct telephone services to over 100 overseas countries and regions are available.  Currently, mobile phone subscribers number about 220,000 and the rate of expansion is 7.8 per cent in Lanzhou.  In 2000, total revenue from telecommunications reached RMB 3.625 billion.

Water  -- The provincial government stated that more than RMB 619 million would be allocated over the next three years to improve the water supply in the province. 

Electricity The Liujiaxia(劉家峽)hydropower station in Gansu is one of the largest in China.  With the abundant hydropower resources of the Yellow river, Gansu is able to provide electricity for the neighbouring provinces including Qinghai, Shanxi, Sichuan and Ningxia.

Oil Supply Construction of Lanzhou-Chengdu-Chongqing oil pipeline has already started.  It would pass through 30 counties and cities in Gansu, Shaanxi and Chongqing with an annual oil delivering capacity of more than 5 million tons.  One of the key projects in the current 5-year plan is to construct an oil pipeline network that connects Xinjiang, Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Shanghai. This will allow oil products from the northwest region to be delivered to the southwest region.  It is expected to be completed in 2002.

Gas Supply A new natural gas pipeline, Sebei-Xining-Lanzhou, linking Qinghai and Gansu provinces is under construction.  The pipeline will run 953 kilometres from Sebei Natural Gas Field in the Qaidam Basin, through Xining in Qinghai Province to Lanzhou.  It is expected to deliver 2 billion cubic metres of natural gas from northwest to the eastern parts of China.


Agricultural products include: wheat, highland barley, millet, potatoes, corn, sorghum, rice, rape seed, soybeans, sugar beet, cotton, sun-cured tobacco, melons, wool, leather and sausage casings.  The portion of Gansu near the border with Qinghai consists of pastoral land, with horses, cattle, sheep and camels.


In 2000, the added value of industrial output of the province totalled RMB 32.8 billion and industries are mainly located at Lanzhou, Jinchuan, Baiyin, Tianshui and Yumen.

Gansu is an important base of oil refining and the petrochemical industry.  The roles of the Lanzhou Oil Refinery and the Lanzhou Company of Chemical Industry are significant in developing petrochemical industry in China.

In order to accelerate development of its resource-based industries, the province has introduced incentives to encourage foreign investment in the mining, refining and processing of minerals.

Lanzhou and Tianshui are two major centres for the production of machinery.  At present, the province supplies over half of the oil-drilling equipment in the country.  In recent years, the textile industry, including wool and cotton spinning, knitting and chemical fibres, has developed quickly.

Gansu’s major export items included machinery, petrochemicals and garments.  Major export markets were Japan, Hong Kong, the US, Republic of Korea and Germany.  Total amount of trade in the first half of 2001 reached US$ 332 million, 68 per cent more than the trade in the same period last year.

The nearest seaport to Gansu is Tianjin, which is 2,000 kilometres away.  As an incentive for exports, the government provides transportation subsidies to all exporting enterprises, including foreign-invested enterprises, in the province.

Science and Technology:

Science and Technology

Although not as well developed as the eastern provinces, Gansu leads China in certain research areas.  Jiuquan(酒泉)is one of the satellite launching centre in China.  The particle accelerator RIBLL, built in 1997, is among the most advanced accelerators in the world.

Lanzhou High and New Technological Development Zone (蘭州高新技術產業開發區)

This is is the only state-level ETDZ in Gansu.  Approved by the State Council in 1988, the Lanzhou Development Zone aims at developing high-tech industries such as new materials, chemical products, bio-technology and medical products as well as mechanical and electrical products.

Consumers’ Market:

Retail sales of consumer goods in Gansu rose by 9.3 per cent to RMB 36.3 billion in 2000.  Lanzhou is the largest consumer centre that accounts nearly half of the total sales.  Equal second in terms of retail sales is Tianshui and Baiyin, each accounting for about 8 per cent of the total sales.

Lanzhou has been developed into a major distribution centre of goods in northwestern China.  The Lanzhou Commercial and Trade Centre(蘭州商貿中心)is the largest commercial building in Gansu.  In addition, Lanzhou has over 300 commodities distribution markets including markets of non-ferrous metals, petrochemicals, machinery and electronics, building materials, fur and wool, grain, medicinal herb, vegetables and fruits.

Major department stores and shopping centres in Gansu include Lanzhou Mingzhu Department Store(蘭州民百股份有限公司), Lanzhou Industrial and Commercial Shopping Centre (蘭州工貿商場), Lanzhou Hua Lian Supermarket (蘭州華聯超級市場), Baiyin Tongcheng Shopping Arcade(白銀銅城商廈)and Jinda Daxia Co. Ltd.(金達大廈有限公司)

Key Cities in Gansu:

Central industrial region:  This is centred on
Lanzhou, although the provincial capital is closer to the southern boundary than to the northern boundary of the province.  The region extends to about 300 kilometres to the north of Lanzhou.  Beyond that point, the province is either grassland or desert.

Ø  Lanzhou,

Ø  Baiyun, and

Ø  Jinchuan

Southern industrial region:  This includes the Wei River and Tao River area:

Ø  Tianshui

Lanzhou 蘭州:

1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

2,909 (+0.7%)

27.5 (+5.8%)

34.6 (+8.1%)

15.9 (+17.8%)

The historical significance of Gansu Province and of Lanzhou are virtually the same.  Lanzhou was an important garrison and transport centre from ancient times.  It did not become industrialised until the western rail line was constructed.  The city is built along the narrow flood plain of the Yellow River, with low mountains rising a short distance from the river.  As a result, when the city expanded it followed the river for about 20 km. 

Baiyin 白銀:

1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

1,736 (+1.1%)

7.2 (+10.8%)

6.7 (-2.9%)

1.5 (-21.0%)

Baiyin is about 70 km northeast of Lanzhou and with the longer distances associated with the western provinces, it could be considered a suburb of Lanzhou.


1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

447 (+1.4%)

3.1 (+3.3%)

3.9 (+5.4%)

0.5 (-40.0%)

The city of Jinchuan is located in the northern part of the central region, on the fringe of the Gobi Desert.  It is about 300 km from Lanzhou, but it is another 800 km from there to the Xinjiang border.


1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

3,328 (+1.2%)

7.4 (+2.8%)

2.8 (+16.8%)

1.5 (-37.5%)

The city of Tianshui is about 250 km southeast of Lanzhou.  It is closer to Baoji in Shaanxi Province, which lies downstream on the Wei River.  Immediately to the south of Tianshui is Maijishan, a mountain noted for caves that date back to the Northern Wei and Song dynasties.

Information Sources:

Information contained in this page was obtained from:

Hong Kong Trade Development Council ((http://www.hktdc.com).)

Additional Information:

We are in the process of maintaining regular contact with organisations in the cities listed.  Please contact us if you require additional information about Gansu Province or any of the cities listed.

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