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Qinghai: Market Profile

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators20172018
(%, y-o-y)
(%, y-o-y)
Gross Domestic Product (RMB bn)264.37.31286.5
Per Capita GDP (RMB)44,3486.4147,6896.31
Added Value Output
   Primary industry (RMB bn)23.84.9126.8
   Secondary industry (RMB bn)118.07.21124.7
   Tertiary industry (RMB bn)122.47.91135.0
Value-added Industrial Output2 (RMB bn)7.018.61
Fixed-assets Investment (RMB bn)389.710.37.3
Retail Sales (RMB bn)83.99.383.66.7
Inflation (Consumer Price Index, %)1.52.1
Exports (US$ mn)423.7-69.1470.110.8
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ mn)13.4402.22.9-78.7
Imports (US$ mn)231.645.5225.8-2.5
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ mn)0.8-42.71.9118.5
Utilised Foreign Direct Investment (US$ mn)

1 In real terms 2 For all state-owned enterprises and other forms with annual sales over RMB20 million

Sources: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2018, Qinghai Statistical Bureau, China Customs Statistics


General Background

Qinghai is located in northwestern China, on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (青藏高原). And it is named after Qinghai Lake, the largest inland plateau lake. The total area is 722,300 sq km, taking up 1/13 of the country’s total area. It is fourth largest province in terms of area after Xinjiang (新疆), Tibet (西藏) and Inner Mongolia (內蒙古) Autonomous Regions. Its population stood at 5.98 million in 2017. Ethnic minorities account for about 48% of Qinghai’s total population.

Owning the reputation of the “Water Tower of China (中華水塔)”, Qinghai is the origin of many rivers such as Yangtze River (長江), Yellow River (黃河) and Lancang River (瀾滄江). In addition, it is rich in minerals, hydropower, agro-husbandry and tourism. Therefore, an important ecological status and abundant resources are the most distinct features of Qinghai.


Qinghai is a large province in resources such as pastoral resource, hydropower resource, mineral resources, saline resources, petroleum & gas resources. The natural resources endowment has a great influence on shaping the industry structure of Qinghai.


Composition of GDP (%)

Secondary41.3 58.444.3

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2018


Traditionally, petroleum & natural gas industries, power generating industry, non-ferrous metal industry and saline chemical industry are the major industrial sectors. Heavy industries accounted for 85.8% of the gross industrial output in 2017.


Value-added Share of Leading Industries (2017)

 % share of industrial value-added
Smelting & pressing of non-ferrous mental17.2
Raw chemical materials and products14.1
Power generating industry7.5
Manufacture of Non-metallic Mineral Products
Extraction of petroleum and natural gas4.4

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2018



Qinghai is indeed a paradise for sightseeing, with 3 5A state class scenic spots and 24 4A state class scenic spots. Some representative scenery spots include Qinghai Lake (青海湖), Mount Sun & Moon (日月山), Longyang Gorge (龍羊峽) and Gold & Silver Meadow (金銀灘草原). Cultural tourism resources include Kunlun Culture (昆侖文化), Folk Customs of Tu and Sala (土族、撒拉族風情) and Ta’er Monastery (塔爾寺).


 2017% change
Number of domestic tourist (million)34.821.2
Income generated (RMB bn)37.923.3
Number of overseas tourist (thousand)70.00.2
Foreign exchange income (US$ mn)38.3-13.3

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2018


Foreign Trade

Major export items included textile yarn & fabrics, footwear, ferroalloy, mechanical & electrical products and garments. In 2017, major export markets included the US, Pakistan, Japan and South Africa. In 2017, Qinghai exported US$8.59 million to Hong Kong, or 2.0% of total exports.

Major imports were mechanical and electric products, aluminum oxide, machinery and parts, high-and new-tech products etc.

Foreign Investment

Hong Kong is one of the leading source of FDI in Qinghai, accounting for 23% of the province’s contracted FDI in 2017.


Chart: Utilised FDI of Qinghai
Chart: Utilised FDI of Qinghai


Consumer Market

In 2017, annual per capita disposal income of urban households was RMB29,169 (+9.0%). Major consumer markets are located in Xining (西寧) which accounted for 67% of Qinghai’s total retail sales.


Composition of Per Capita Expenditure of Urban Household (%)

Food, tobacco & liquor51.428.2
Household articles6.76.5
Medicine & medical services5.59.1
Transportation & communications4.715.1
Recreation, cultural & education7.911.8

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2018


Economic Indicators of Major Cities (2017)

(RMB bn)
Per Capita GDP
Gross Industrial Output*
(RMB bn)
Retail Sales
(RMB bn)
 Xining (西寧) 128.454,808152.156.1
 Haidong (海東) 43.629,73725.19.7
 Haixi (海西) 52.6102,39164.89.8

Notes: * For all state-owned enterprises and other forms with annual sales over RMB20 million
Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2018


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