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








Xinjiang 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: 19,300,000

Regional Capital: Urumqi

Average temperatures: North: -20 deg C to -15 deg C in January and 22 deg C to 26 deg C in July. South: -10 deg C to -5 deg C in January and the same temperature range as in the north in July.

Physical features: The autonomous region consists of 1,650,000 square kilometres, which is 16 per cent of China’s total land area. Three major mountain ranges separate the lowlands into various basins and valleys with a substantial difference in elevation.  The region has very little precipitation and experiences frequent gales in the spring and autumn.

Rivers: The Tarim River and its tributaries (Hotan and Yarkant) comprise China's longest inland river. Ulanqur River is in the north of the region.

Administrative divisions: 16 cities, 5 autonomous prefectures, 65 counties and 6 autonomous counties.

Historical significance: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has a long history of conflict, stemming from the silk trade (which dates back to the Roman era), and a collection of nomadic tribes that occasionally intruded into China.  It was part of China during the Qing Dynasty but was ruled by warlords when the Qing Dynasty collapsed. 

Apart from a portion that became independent as the Republic of Turkestan in 1945 (now separated into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) the region remained with China.

Major ethnic groups in the region are Uyghur(維吾爾)and Han(漢), accounting for 47 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively, of the region's population.  Other ethnic groups include Kazak(哈薩克), Hui(回), Kirgiz(柯爾克孜), Mongolian(蒙古), Tatar(塔塔爾), Daur(達幹爾), Xibe(錫伯), Russian(俄羅斯), Tajik(塔吉克)and Uzbek(烏孜別克).

Natural Resources:

The province is relatively undeveloped, with substantial quantities of mineral resources.

It has the largest reserves of oil, natural gas and coal in the country.  Its coal reserves amount to 27 million tons (40 per cent of the country’s total) and oil reserves amount to 30 billion tons.  Crude oil output, which reached 17.4 million tons in 1999, was the third highest in the country.  The oil and gas reserves found in Tarim, Junggar and Turpan-Hami basins in the region account for one-fourth and one-third, respectively, of the country's total.

Xinjiang's reserves of mineral resources are also substantial.  The region's reserves of beryllium(鈹) and mica(雲母) are the highest in China.  Some of the region’s granite products such as “Xinjiang Red,” Tianshan White” and “Snowflower Black” are famous brands in the country.  The country’s largest copper mine is also found in Xinjiang.

Economic Profile:




Economic Indicators





(% p.a.)

(% p.a.)

Gross domestic product (RMB bn)


7.3 *


7.5 *

Per capita GDP





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 (retail price index, %)



Exports (US$ bn)





  - by FIEs (US$ bn)





Imports (US$ bn)





  - by FIEs (US$ bn)





Foreign direct investment

  - number of projects





  - contractual amount (US$ bn)





  - utilised amount (US$ bn)





Notes: *In real terms
Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook and State Statistical Bureau



Railways The region is mainly served by the LanXin line(蘭新線: Lanzhou-Xinjiang 蘭州-新疆)which links up with the Longhai line(隴海線: Lanzhou-Lianyungang 蘭州-連雲港)and the Nan-Jiang line(南疆線 : Korla-Kashi庫爾勒-喀什).  Construction of Qinxin line(青新線: Gulmod in Qinghai and Korla in Xinjiangis being prepared.

Roadways The total length of roads and highways in the region reached 35,600 kilometres by the end of 2000, covering over 99 per cent of the counties, townships and villages.  Major highways include Tur-U-Dai(吐烏大: Turpan-Urumqi-Daihuangshan 吐魯番-烏魯木齊-大黃山), U-Kui Expressway(烏奎 : Urumqi-Kuitun 烏魯木齊-奎屯), LanXin line(蘭新線: Lanzhou-Xinjiang 蘭州-新疆), QinXin line(青新線: Qinghai-Xinjiang 青海-新疆)and Xin-Tibet line(新藏線: Xinjiang-Tibet 新疆-西藏).

Air Transport The Urumqi Airport has flight services to 59 international and domestic destinations including Ningbo, Shenyang, Xi'an, Moscow, Siberian and Islamabad.  The reconstructions of the Yili Airport in 1998 and the Karsh Airport in 1999 have improved the aviation services of Xinjiang. 

Telecommunications Program-controlled telephone exchanges are available in 98 per cent of township and 52 per cent of administrative villages in Xinjiang.  At present, there are about 1.7 million telephone users in the region.  Direct dial service for international calls is also available.  Mobile phone service is increasingly popular.  By the end of 1999, there were 180,000 mobile phone users in Urumqi. 

Xinjiang built a digital microwave telecommunications trunk which links cities on both sides of the Tianshan Mountain, and an optical fibre cable system leading to neighbouring countries with a total length of 25,000 kilometres, and 10 satellite ground stations.  The region has also set up a digital data network, a conference TV system, a smart terminal and a multi-media network.  The number of data transmission users has risen to more than 105,000.

Wind Power More than 200 power-generating units are in operation at the wind power centre in Dabancheng(大板城).  The generating capacity of the canter makes up one-third of the total installed wind power capacity in the country.

Gas Supply Under China's energy development strategy, a major gas pipeline running from the Tarim Basin to Shanghai with a total length of 4,167 kilometres will start construction in the last quarter of 2001.  The pipeline, which runs through Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, will be able to transmit 12 billion cubic metres of gas annually from the west to the east upon completion by end of 2003.


Xinjiang is China's largest supplier of cotton and hops.  Output of cotton and hops in 1999 accounted for 33 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively, off the country’s total.  With the second largest pastureland, the region is one of the major sheep farming areas and fine-wool producers in China. 

It provides more than 40 per cent of the country's total fine-sheep wool and its milk production in the region ranked the fourth in China in 1999.  Xinjiang is also a major producer of grain, sugar beets and fruits, of which, Yining apples, Korla pears, seedless white grapes and Hami melons are famous at home and abroad.


In 2000, total added value of industrial output of the region was RMB 42.2 billion, increased by 9 per cent over 1999.  Urumqi, Karamay, Korla and Tulufan are some of the major industrial centres in the region.

Heavy industries like oil, petrochemicals and coal production formed a fundamental part of Xinjiang’s industrial development, accounting for 69 per cent of the region’s total industrial output in 1999.  Besides, the region has developed light industries like textiles and garments (especially wool and cashmere), leather processing, papermaking, sugar refining and carpet weaving.  The Xinjiang’s government targets to accelerate development of information, biotech, energy and environmental protection industries in the current Five-Year Plan period.

Major export items included canned food, cotton, garment, silk products and woolen yarn.

Science and Technology:

Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone (烏魯木齊經濟技術開發區)

This zone engages in the chemical industry, textiles, foodstuffs, construction materials, medicines and other light industries.  An International Trade/Tourist Shopping Market (國際貿易旅遊購物市場)was open in the zone during 1998 to attract more foreign investment.

Urumqi High-tech Development Zone(烏魯木齊高新技術產業開發區)

This zone focuses on high-tech and service industries.  It achieved an output of RMB 702 million and total trade US$71.8 million during 1999. 

Shihezi Economic and Technological Development Zone (石河子經濟技術開發區)

This zone is devoted mainly to light industries.  In 1999, there were 244 enterprises located in the zone, with an industrial output of RMB 571 million and foreign trade of US$13.6 million. 

Yining Border Economic Cooperation Zone(伊寧邊境經濟合作區),

This was approved by the State Council in June 1992 as an important base for agricultural products.

Bole City Border Economic Cooperation Zone(博樂市邊境經濟合作區),

This state-level zone approved by the State Council in December 1992, mainly engages in export processing industry, machinery, science and technology, medicine processing and mining industry.

Kuytun Economic and Technological Development Zone(奎屯經濟技術開發區),

This is located to the west of Urumqi and is the third largest industrial production centre in Xinjiang.

Consumers’ Market:

Retail sales of consumer goods in the autonomous region rose by 7.8 per cent to RMB 37.5 billion in 2000.  In Urumqi, which is the largest consumer centre in the region, recorded RMB 10.7 billion retail sales of consumer goods in the first 11 months of 2000, an increase of 11.5 per cent from the same period in 1999.

Major department stores and shopping centres in Xinjiang include Urumqi Tianshan Department Store(烏魯木齊市天山百貨大樓), Urumqi Youhao Department Store(烏魯木齊市友好商場股份有限公司), Xinjiang Department Store(新疆百貨大樓), Hongshan Shopping Arcade(紅山商場), Urumqi Dashizi Commercial Building (烏市大十字商業大廈), Tulufan Department Store(吐魯番百貨站), Hami Department Store(哈密百貨站)and Xinjian Shengchan Jianshe Bingtuan Department Store(新疆生產建設兵團百貨公司).

Key Cities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region:

Northern industrial zone – this is the more developed portion of the autonomous region

Ø  Urumqi

Ø  Yili

Ø  Changji

Ø  Ba

Ø  Karamay

Western industrial zone – this includes the western portion of the Tarim Basin.

Ø  Kashi

Urumqi 烏魯木齊:

1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)


24.9 (+7.9%)

22.0 (+8.1%)

11.1 (+8.4%)

As with many of the far western communities, Urumqi amounted to very little before the construction of the rail line from Lanzhou in the 1950s.  The city is noted for the relatively high percentage of people with Turkic ancestry.

Yili 伊犁州:

1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)


18.2 (+7.0%)

7.4 (+10.7%)

5.2 (+7.0%)

The full name is Yili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, which gives it an administrative level that is between a province and a municipality.  Autonomous prefectures are associated mainly with minority national areas.

The data reported above include Yining, which is the capital city of the Yili Autonomous Prefecture, as well as much of the surrounding region along the Ili River.  This river flows westward from the mountains lying to the southwest of Urumqi into Kazakhstan. 

Agriculture is the principal activity in the autonomous prefecture.

Changji 昌吉州:

1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)


11.0 (+9.3%)

7.4 (11.1%)

2.8 (+7.3%)

Changji is relatively close to Urumqi (about 35 km, which is very close in relation to the distances within Xinjiang).  It is connected to the capital by road, but not by rail.


1999 data:



Industrial Value Added

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)


10.9 (+8.0%)

4.1 (+16.9%)

3.0 (+5.0%)

Ba is the short form of a Mongolian autonomous prefecture in Xinjiang.  (See the discussion above with Yili for the nature of autonomous prefectures.)  The full name appears to be Ba Yin Guo Leng Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture.  It probably consists of the northern tip of Xinjiang and may include the cities of Altay and Qingha, but not enough information is available to be certain. 


1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)


10.2 (+7.5%)

16.9 (+4.1%)

1.2 (+6.2%)


Karamay is on the northern edge of the Junggar Plain that lies north of Urumqi.  It is a little less than 300 kilometres from Urumqi and is dominated by mining activities and related industries.

Kashi 喀什:

1999 data:



Industrial Output

Retail Sales


(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)

(RMB bn)


6.9 (-3.2%)

1.38 (+5.6%)

1.7 (+7.6%)

Kashi, also known as Kashgar, is located in the far western part of the Xinjiang, not far (about 100 km) from the border with Kyrgyzstan.  The Tian Mountains lie to the north, the more rugged Kunlun Mountains to the south and west.  The many rivers in the area disappear into the Taklan Makan Desert to the east.  The city is dominated by rural activities within the resulting basin.

Information Sources:

Information contained in this page was obtained from:

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

Additional Information:

The Chamber maintains contact with:

Urumqi Sub-Council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), which is also called the China Chamber of International Commerce.

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

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