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Xining Haixi

Geographic location
The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which is called Ning for short, is located in northwest China, on the upper reaches of the Yellow River. One of China's five autonomous regions inhabited by the minority groups, it borders Shaanxi Province in the east, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north, and Gansu Province in the south.


The average elevation is more than 3,000 meters above sea level, varying from 1,650 meters to 6,860 meters, while 54 percent of the area is between 4,000 and 5,000 meters. The province is divided into the Qilian Mountains, the Qaidam Basin, and the Qingnan Plateau.

Climate: It has a plateau continental climate thanks to its elevation, topography, latitude and atmospheric circulation. The province has a long and not-cold winter and a short and cool summer. The temperature varies greatly in the province with an average annual temperature of ¨C5.6¡æ-8.7¡æ. The precipitation also varies noticeably, the southeast area receiving 450-600 ml of rainfalls annually.

Natural resources


A total of 125 minerals have had their deposits verified. Of these, 50 are among the top ten in terms of reserves in the country and 11, including potassium chloride and magnesium salts, have the largest deposits of their kinds in China. Of the 45 urgently needed minerals in China, 21 have been found in the province, their deposits all ranking among the top ten in the country. In addition, Qinghai has more than 30 salt lakes with proved reserves of 70 billion tons. Qinghai is also rich in nonferrous metals and non-metallic minerals. Its asbestos reserve leads other provinces and regions in China. The famed Qaidam Basin is abundant in natural gas and oil. There are 16 oilfields and six gas fields. The total oil reserve is 1.244 billion tons, of which 200 million tons has been explored; the explored gas reserve is 47.2 billion cubic meters.

Hydraulic energy: The province has 178 hydropower stations with a total installed generation capacity of 21.66 million kw, which has an exploitable capacity of 18 million kw, and generate 77 billion kwh annually. The province plans to build seven more medium-sized hydropower stations, which, with a total installed generation capacity of 11 million kw, will produce 36.8 billion kwh each year. The construction cost of each power station in Qinghai is 20-40 percent lower than that of the national average. The province is also rich in solar, wind and geothermal energy.


Qinghai is one of the five major pasturelands in China. It boasts 31.6 million hectares of grazing land, accounting for 15 percent of the country¡¯s total. Among the 940 species of grass growing in its grasslands, 190 species are of high nutrition with crude protein, crude fat and low coarse fiber. The livestock includes sheep, yak, horse, camel and goat, all cold-resistant. Qinghai¡¯s domestic yaks top the country in number and account for one-third of the world¡¯s total.

Wild animals and plants:

Of the wild plants discovered in Qinghai, some 1,000 have economic value, including over 100 medicinal herbs. Its Chinese caterpillar fungus, in particular, is famous in China and abroad. Qinghai has 290 kinds of birds and 109 species of mammal beasts, 21 of them being under first-class state protection, 53 being under second-class state protection, 36 being under provincial protection, and 22 having been listed in the International Trade Convention on Endangered Wild Animals and Plants, Appendixes I and II.

Tourism resources:

Qinghai features ethnic custom tours unique to the plateau. It has over ten scenic spots including the Birds Islet, the Mengda Natural Reserves, Ta'er Monastery, snow-capped A¡¯Nyemaqen Mountain, Sun-and-Moon Hill, and Longyang Gorge Reservoir, the largest artificial reservoir in China, and the Dulan International Game Land.

Environment and current issues

Soil erosion, water shortage, and deforestation. Qinghai is the original place of several rivers and is thus important to the ecological balance of the entire region. In the coming 15 years, the province will improve its conservation of the ecological balance, including the protection of the water and soil in six areas: the sources of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, Qinghai Lake, the arid mountains in the east, the Longyang Gorge Reservoir, and the Qaidam Basin. It is necessary not only to strengthen the protection of natural forests, grasslands, and other sources of wild plants and animals but also to increase the restoration of deteriorated grasslands and the construction of shelter-forests. It is also necessary to increase water and soil conservation and keep the water sources clean. The target is to build a more beautiful Qinghai by the mid-21st century.

Total population: 5.165 million (by the end of 2000)

Population growth rate: 13.1¡ë


Qinghai is inhabited by 55 ethnic groups, and the population of minority ethnic groups has reached 2.35 million, or 45.5 percent of the province¡¯s total. Besides the Han, China¡¯s majority, there are the Tibetans, accounting for 21.89 percent of the province¡¯s total population; the Huis, accounting for 15.89 percent; the Tus accounting for 3.85 percent of the province¡¯s total; the Salars accounting for 1.85 percent; and the Mongolians, accounting for 1.71 percent. The Salar and Tu ethnic groups are unique to Qinghai.

Literacy (by the end of 2000):

Primary-school graduates: 1.6 million

Junior middle school graduates: 1.12 million

High school graduates: 540,464

University and college graduates: 170,929

Compared with 1990, the numbers of persons receiving education of various levels among each 10,000 people have increased: college: from 149 to 300; high school: from 828 to 1,043; junior middle school: from 1,776 to 2,660; and primary school: from 2,649 to 3,094.

Total population of age 15 and over who are illiterate or semi-illiterate: 934,283

Illiterate rate: 18.03 percent (1990: 27.7 percent)

GDP: 30.08 billion yuan (US$3.63 billion)

Average GDP per capita: 5,732 yuan (US$692)¡¡¡¡

GDP ratio (1st, 2nd, and tertiary industries): 14.2 : 44 : 41.8¡¡

Revenues: 1.98 billion yuan (US$239.13 million)

Industrial added value growth rate: 11 percent

Agricultural added value growth rate: 1.79 percent

Foreign trade:

In 2000 the province achieved US$159.74 million in foreign trade, up 48.1 percent than the previous year. Its exports hit US$112 million, 28.9 percent up over that of 1999, and imports reached US$47.74 million, 1.3 times that of 1999. It had a trade surplus of US$64.26 million. It has further adjusted its export structure and added the exports of characteristic local products. The province has expanded its export market in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Foreign investment:

In 2001, the province had utilized foreign investment of US$128 million, up 16 percent over 2000, in addition to 5 billion yuan (US$603.9 million) from other Chinese provinces. Its key projects include the Haidong Agricultural Comprehensive Development Project, aided by the World Grain Program; the Qinghai Livestock Breeding and Potato Development Project, aided by the European Union; and the Qinghai Community Development Project, aided by Australia. These projects cover agriculture, livestock, fishery, science, technology, education, culture, public health, and women¡¯s development. They have promoted the development of social causes in the province.

Pillar industries:

Agriculture, hydropower, salt-chemical, non-ferrous metal, and oil and natural gas.


Four railway trunks like the Lanzhou-Qinghai and Qinghai-Tibet railway trunks along with 59 special railway lines, totaling 1,100 kilometers, run east and west through the province. By the end of 2000, the passenger-transport volume reached 3.52 million person times, and the cargo volume reached 8.33 million tons.


The operational highways total 19,679 kilometers, and the highway transport network with Xining at the center radiates to all parts of the province.


The civil aviation air routes total 10,000 kilometers, and the province has flights from Xining to Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Xi¡¯an, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Lhasa

Xining is located on the eastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the upper reaches of Huangshui River. It is the political, economic, scientific and technological, cultural and traffic center of Qinghai Province with an average altitude of over 2200 meters (about 7217 feet). The activities of human beings in this region can be traced to 2,100 years ago. During the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties, owing to its developing agriculture, Xining was paid more attention due to its economic and martial significance. As well as being the important hinge between the central plains and the western part of China in ancient time, Xining was the most common passing channel of the famous Silk Road. Until now, it is still the only road by which to enter the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

At present, five districts, three counties and a national economic and technological development zone are under the administration of the local government. With a population of more than two million, Xining is the first city on the upper reaches of the Yellow River to achieve a population into the millions. There are about 37 nationalities living here, including Han, Hui, Tu and Tibetan. The local traditions and customs are influenced by these distinctive nationalities, in particular the Hui (Muslim) and Tibetan group.

Xining is also called the Summer Resort Capital of China for its cool summer. The region also provides a number of attractions making a visit to the area well worth considering. The scenery of the Qinghai Lake, situated within Xining, provides an escape from fervent cities and allows you to experience beautiful natural sceneries. The Birds Island, situated on the northwest of Qinghai Lake, is waiting to present you with an extensive array of birds. To the southwest of Xining, is the birthplace of the founder of the Gelugpa Sect; an important Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Kumbum was built there. Climbing the temple will reward you with a view of the city from the mountaintop. A site not to be missed is the Dongguan Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in northern China

Haixi is Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture for short. It is located in the western part of Qinghai Province, bordering Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Gansu Province and Sichuan Province. It covers a vast land area of 325,800 sq km and has a population of 560,000. The administrative Division is that there are 3 Districts (Lenghu, Dachaidan, Mangya); 3 Counties (Wulan, Dulan, Tianjun); 2 County-Level Cities (Delingha, Golmud). Government offices are located in Delingha City, 514 kilometers (319 miles) from the capital city of Qinghai, Xining.

The prefecture is known for its multi-cultural history. There are many ethnic groups, including the Han, Tibetans, the Hui, Mongols, and the Tu, living here. Among the minority ethnic groups, Tibetans and Mongols account for 10% and 7% of the total population, respectively. Various minority ethnic groups, retaining their own folk customs, live harmoniously and happily in the region.

The Qaidam Basin, which lies in the midst of the Kunlun Mountains, Aeoin Mountains and Qilian Mountains, is one of the main landforms within this prefecture. The land rises into a plateau at the north foot of the Tanggula Mountains, and much of the rest of the land is distributed between the Alps, rolling hills, the Gobi Desert, plains, and lakes. The prefecture has a typical continental plateau climate with an extremely cold winter and a large temperature difference between day and night. Average temperatures and average annual precipitation vary greatly among the different counties under administration of the region. And the best time to go is from May to September.

Haixi has convenient access to transportation. The Qinghai-Tibet Highway, the Qinghai-Xinjiang Highway, and the Dunhuang-Golmud Highway intersect within Haixi. Golmud Airport, which is located in Golmud County, operates flights to major cities such as Xining and Xi`an.

Haixi Prefecture was once inhabited by the Qiang, a minority group from northwestern China. It was ruled by the Tubo Kingdom throughout the Tang Dynasty (618-907), with the Yuan Gvernment (1271-1368) taking partial control of the area during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Haixi is rich in mineral resources. Reserves of crude salt, potassium, magnesium, lithium, strontium, asbestos and mirabilite rank first in China, while reserves of bromine and boron rank second in the country. The total potential value of all the minerals amounts to RMB 15 trillion. Oil and natural gas production, electricity, non-ferrous metals, salt-chemicals and coal mining are the pillar industries. Haixi-based PetroChina Qinghai Oilfield Company realized value-added industrial output of RMB 7.9 billion in 2007, accounting for 55.4% of the industrial sector`s total, while local Qinghai Salt Lake Group and Western Mining Co generated value-added industrial output of RMB 1.8 billion and RMB 937 million during the same year, contributing 12.6% and 6.6% to industrial sector`s total, respectively.

Haixi is abundant in beautiful tourism resources. Tourists should visit Kunlun Mountain, SanjiangYuan Natural Reserve, Shell Mountain, Tuotuo River, and Tanggula Mountain.

Kunlun Mountain is widely appraised as the most supernatural Mountain in China, while the Kunlun Cultural Tourism Area has been given a rating of AAAA, the second highest level. Dulan International Game Land covers an area of over 44,000 hectares (170 square miles), and these game lands feature two structured hunts. The game land is opened to the public every year between April and May and September thru October. Qarhan Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in China. The 32 kilometers (20 miles) long `Wan Zhang Salt Bridge` is the most famous attraction of the lake. The Qaidam Basin is one of the most renowned land formations in the Ya-dang area. Numerous saltwater lakes make the area an even more attractive destination. Visitors should not miss the scenery at the Lenghu Administrative Committee area.

When it comes to local special snacks, Zanba (a Tibetan food made from roasted qingke barley flour), milk tea, yogurt, horse milk wine, hand grabbed mutton, and buckhorn-shaped moss (a primitive plant with high nutritional value), are really unique and attractive for tourists.

In addition, local folk porcelain, brede, and Thang-ga, a traditional sort of Tibetan painting, can be very good souvenirs for tourists to take home

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