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Qinghai: Market Profile

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators2015Jan-Sep 2016
(%, y-o-y)
(%, y-o-y)
Gross Domestic Product (RMB bn)241.7
Per Capita GDP (RMB)41,252
Added Value Output
   Primary industry (RMB bn)20.9
   Secondary industry (RMB bn)120.7
   Tertiary industry (RMB bn)100.1
Value-added Industrial Output2 (RMB bn)7.617.61
Fixed-assets Investment (RMB bn)326.7
Retail Sales (RMB bn)69.1
Inflation (Consumer Price Index, %)2.6
Exports (US$ bn)1,641.9
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ bn)3.0
Imports (US$ bn)292.5
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ bn)10.3
Utilised Foreign Direct Investment (US$ bn)55.0

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

Sources: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2016, Qinghai Statistical Bureau, China’s Customs Statistics 12.2015, 9.2016


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 kilometres, taking up 1/8 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 5.88 million in 2015. Ethnic minorities account for about 47% 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 (%)

Primary 15.2 9.3 8.6
Secondary 41.3 58.4 50.0
   Industry 29.9 48.6 37.0
Tertiary 43.5 32.3 41.4

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2016

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 82.2% of the gross industrial output in 2015.

Value-added Share of Leading Industries (2015)

 % share of industrial value-added
 Smelting & pressing of non-ferrous mental 19.7
 Power generating industry 15.2
 Raw chemical materials and products 11.4
 Extraction of petroleum and natural gas 10.2

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2016


Qinghai is indeed a paradise for sightseeing, with 408 scenery spots, of which, 11 are of international-level, 52 are of national-level and 84 are of provincial level. 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).

 2015% change
Number of domestic tourist (million) 23.1 15.4
Income generated (RMB bn) 24.6 23.0
Number of overseas tourist (thousand) 66.0 26.9
Foreign exchange income (US$ mn) 38.8 50.6

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2016

Foreign Trade

Major export items included textile yarn & fabrics, ferro-silicon, ferroalloy, mechanical & electrical products and garments. In 2015, major export markets included the US, South Korea, Japan, Pakistan and Malaysia. In 2015, Qinghai exported US$69 million to Hong Kong, or 4.3% of total exports.

Major imports were aluminum oxide, coal, construction and mining machinery, textile machinery, etc.

Foreign Investment

Hong Kong is the leading source of FDI in Qinghai, accounting for 57% of the province’s contracted FDI in 2015.

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

Consumer Market

In 2015, annual per capita disposal income of urban households was RMB24,542 (+10%). 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 & liquor 51.4 28.7
Clothing 14.0 9.9
Household articles 6.7 6.1
Medicine & medical services 5.5 7.6
Transportation & communications 4.7 17.5
Recreation, cultural & education 7.9 10.5
Residence 3.5 17.4

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2016

Economic Indicators of Major Cities (2015)

(RMB bn)
Per Capita GDP
Gross Industrial Output*
(RMB bn)
Retail Sales
(RMB bn)
 Xining (西寧)  113.2 49,178 150.7 46.2
 Haidong (海東)  38.4 26,531 323.4 8.0
 Haixi (海西)  43.9 86,713 575.0 8.1

* For all state-owned and other forms of enterprises with annual sales over RMB20 million

Source: Qinghai Statistical Yearbook 2016



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