Research Paper: A Study on Tibet’s Utilisation of FDI (Translation II)

Translation: CA

A Study on Tibet’s utlisation of Foreign Direct Investment (西藏自治区利用外商直接投资,) published in Shenzhen’s China Development Institute (综合开发研究院,中国深圳)  ‘China Opening Journal’ 《开放导报》 April, 2013.

The authors highlight the low FDI inflows into the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and low utilisation of FDI in Tibet, even in comparison to other provinces in West China.

Part II highlights the Tibetan industries which can benefit from FDI, and the steps Tibet can take to attract more FDI, develop the economy, whilst preserving the local culture and ecosystem.

A Study on Tibet’s Utilisation of Foreign Direct Investment

(English Translation)

3. Further analysis on expanding FDI utilisation

Along with the quick growth in the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s economy and opening up internationally, Tibet has huge potential to expand its use of foreign investment.

i.) Rapid development in Tibet’s socialist economy

Tibet has experienced 60 years of rapid economic growth, from 1959 to 2010 Tibet’s total output increased from CNY 174 million to CNY 50.75 billion, which when calculated at comparable prices, is an average annual increase of 9.1%; Whilst per capita output increased from CNY 142 to CNY 10,700. During this period, Tibet’s modern industry started from scratch, growing into a rich industrial system with Tibetan characteristics. Tibet also experienced a rapid rise in modern industries such as commerce, tourism, post and telecommunications, food and beverages, cultural entertainment, and the IT industry. Tibet’s quick growth has helped attract foreign capital in establishing production and market bases.

ii.) Established basic transport and communication networks

Presently Tibet already has a basic integrated air, rail and road transport system. Tibet’s 7 cities have 21 routes operated by 5 airlines, including links from Lhasa to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Nepal. The completion of the Qinghai-Tibet line was the first railway line to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and solved the historic transport bottleneck which had restricted Tibet’s development. 5 national highways connect with Lhasa on all sides, including the Qinghai-Tibet, Sichuan-Tibet and Mid-Nepal Highways. All of the Autonomous Region’s towns and over 80% of administrative villages are connected by public roads, comprising a total road network system of 58,000 km. Tibet has completed the following major communication connections: 2004 “county to county optical cable, town to town telephone”; 2007 “town to town fax”; 2010 “village to village telephone”; and June 2011 “town to town broadband”. Convenient transportation and communications networks have helped raise transportation and logistics efficiency, creating ideal conditions for foreign enterprise development and goods transportation to the rest of China and international markets.

iii.) Outstanding local industries attractive to foreign investors

With the country’s strong support, Tibet is in the process of forming six pillar industries, including tourism, Tibetan medicine, plateau biology and organic food and drinks. These industries are being urgently transformed into Tibet’s mainstay industries, containing numerous business opportunities, and relatively strong in attracting foreign investment.

a.) Tourism industry: Tibet possesses distinct places of cultural interest and is richly endowed in plateau nature and scenery, so the tourism industry has enormous potential. However Tibet still requires more capital investment in areas such as tourism and culture, exploitation of natural resources, development of scenic areas and construction of supporting facilities. Therefore foreign investment can accomplish much in this field.

b.) Tibetan medicine industry: Tibetan medicine has by means of a complete system of medical theory, natural abundance in medicine materials, and safe and effective recipes, established an important position in the world’s traditional medicine. In recent years the Tibetan medicine industry has experienced significant development, and is gradually becoming an important driver for economic growth.

c.) Unique plateau bio-industry and organic foods: Tibet is abundant in wild flora and fauna, thus can turn this resource advantage into an economic advantage. Tibet has large reserves of drinkable water rich in trace elements, so can vigorously develop mineral water, beer and health foods. Thus Tibet’s bio-industry and organic foods have huge development potential.

d.) Agricultural and livestock industry and ethnic handicrafts industry: Tibet has unique agriculture and livestock, such as plateau barley, Tibetan sheep, goat and Yaks, all of which have fine development prospects. Also strong are Tibetan ethnic handicrafts such as rugs, Thangka, Tibetan joss sticks and aprons, all of which have wide market potential.

e.) Mining: Tibet is rich in mineral resources, including known reserves of 18 minerals which rank in the nation’s top 10 of known reserves, 12 of these minerals whose known reserves rank in the nation’s top 5 known reserves, and known reserves of chromium and copper which rank first nationally. Mining is already the most important industry in Tibet. Thus it’s worth actively striving for and guiding domestic and foreign capital investment into developing the Tibetan mining industry and its environmental protection.

f.) Construction materials industry: The construction materials industry has a strong place in Tibet’s economy. During the 11th Five Year plan period, Tibet’s construction materials industry maintained an average 20% annual growth rate, spurring on expansion in the building materials and related industries. Going forward, along with the accelerating construction in all areas of Tibet’s economy, Tibet’s construction materials industry will inevitably enjoy great development. Therefore introducing foreign investment into this area could mean tremendous returns for the local economy and foreign firms alike.

iv.) Unrivalled connections with South Asia

Tibet, which has 4,000 km of border and 312 routes with five countries and one region of South Asia, has become an important land connection bridging East and South Asia. Following the completion of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the East-South Asia passage has become one of the most quick and economical trade routes. It’s foreseeable that in the not too distant future, Tibet will become the main distribution and trading centre between China and India, East and South Asia. Along with the increase in trade between China and South Asian countries, both sides must gradually increase economic dealings such as reciprocal investment. There are now increasing numbers of Nepalese traders arriving in Tibet, along with the first wave of investment from India. Thus in bordering these other countries, there is much potential for Tibet to attract foreign investment.

4. Countermeasures and suggestions to strengthen FDI utilisation

FDI has a positive effect through promoting Tibetan economic development, increasing levels of technology, and working with the local economy, so strengthening attraction and use of foreign investment is one of Tibet’s most important channels for economic development.

i.) Strengthen promotion aimed at foreign enterprises, and actively participate in China-foreign business events.

Presently Tibet has an insufficient level of promotion aimed at foreign investors, and business communications with other countries and regions needs improving. Tibet can take part in China-foreign exhibitions, hold trade conferences, product promotions, celebrations and festivals and similar activities, and promote exclusive policies for attracting foreign capital and favourable conditions for investment. Furthermore, promote Tibet’s abundant natural resources and huge development potential; broaden contacts with industrial and commercial figures from all over the world; facilitate interactive trade relations between Tibet and other regions; market Tibet’s famous and new special products along with Tibet’s splendid arts and culture, and magnificent nature and scenery, allowing the world to further understand Tibet, thereby attracting more and more investors to invest in Tibet.

ii.) Promote coordinated development between foreign investment and the Tibetan economy and resources

In light of Tibet’s current economic growth fundamentals, features and natural resources, Tibet is actively adopting the economic development strategy of boosting primary industry by accelerating the modernisation of agriculture, developing key areas in the secondary industry by strengthening industrial development and vigorous expansion of the tertiary industry by upgrading the service industry structure. Therefore Tibet should actively utilise foreign investment in the primary industry, in order to introduce advanced biotechnology, and seed, rearing and breeding technologies. With regards the secondary industry, Tibet should guide foreign investment into the energy industry, farm animal products processing, plateau biology and organic food and drinks, whilst in key areas develop the mining industry, transform the building materials industry, speed up the industrialisation of Tibetan medicine, encourage growth in the ethnic handicraft industry, and increase overall industrial strength. For the tertiary industry, Tibet should utilise foreign investment for developing tourism, deepening development of cultural attractions, eco-tourism etc., transform tourist products, and at the same time attract foreign logistics companies to develop a modern logistics industry.

iii.) Promote foreign investment with coordinated development of Tibet’s ecosystem

Given the fragile ecosystem, Tibet should follow a path of sustainable development, and with respect to the utilisation of foreign investment, pay close attention to the ecosystem and resource consumption, by implementing good environmental protection policy with strong veto powers. Tibet should also encourage foreign investment to popularise the use of clean energy, and use to the fullest extent new energy and renewable energy, such as leveraging suitable plateau surroundings for solar energy, wind power, geothermal energy, and other such new products and technology. Strictly control expansion of high energy consumption enterprises, encourage foreign companies to spread the use of energy conserving and environmental protection industrial practices, new technologies, new facilities and new materials. Introduce the latest foreign technology and increase the integrated utilisation rate of ferrous and nonferrous metals with associated mineral resources. Moreover, guiding foreign investment to develop the environmental protection industry, and eliminating economic activities that have harmful effects on resources and ecosystems, to guarantee an economic system that sustains ecology, and promote foreign investment in harmony with Tibet’s ecosystem.

iv.) Use development zones (and industrial parks) as a vehicle for attracting foreign investment.

Looking at foreign enterprise locations throughout the country, in every region they are frequently concentrated in development zones (industrial parks). In 2010, the country’s 90 economic and technological zones actual share of the total country’s use of foreign investment was 28.9%. Although Tibet’s development zones (industrial parks) are still in their early stages of development, they possess excellent environment, policies and locations, which will inevitably become areas for foreign investment congregation. Therefore Tibet should use development zones and technology parks in this manner, actively promote their construction, firmly grasp opportunities, loosen investment restrictions and reduce investment thresholds, optimise organisation, and take the initiative and drive forward on all levels. All in order to attract more foreign investment to Tibet, turning one location (a development zone or industrial park) into an entire area, thus enhancing Tibet’s industrialisation, and forming a complete supply chain.

v.) Continue improvements in infrastructure

Even though Tibet has already made great strides in basic infrastructure, there still exists room for improvement. For example the region presently has no major expressways, and road network density is only equal to 1/10th of the national average. Owing to Tibet’s unique geology and climate, roads are vulnerable to natural disasters, which poses a hindrance to Tibet’s economic development and attracting foreign investment. Therefore Tibet still needs to improve its basic infrastructure. In other words, to quickly construct along the Qinghai-Tibet railway and the “One river three rivers” transport hub, strengthen such transport and communications connections, promote construction of an economic zone within a radius of 4 hours from Lhasa to Shigatse, Lhokha, Nagchu, Nyingchi, making transportation and communications more smoother within the region. However quicker transport connections with the rest of the country are still needed, as are trade routes to South Asia, in order to create ideal conditions for Tibet’s economic development and to attract foreign investment.

References:-

[1] 西藏自治区统计局, 国家统计局西藏调查总队. 西藏统计年鉴(2010)[M]. 北京: 中国统计出版社, 2011.

[2] 中国藏学研究中心. 西藏经济社会发展报告[EB/OL].

http://news.xinhuanet.com/newscenter/2009-03/30/content_11098904.htm, 2009-03-30.

[3] 丁华.西藏渐成外商投资热土[EB/OL]. http://info.tibet.cn/news/xzxw/shjj/200510/t20051023_63834.htm, 2005-10-23.

[4] 罗莉,拉灿.西藏50年(经济卷)[M]. 北京:民族出版社, 2001.

[5] 徐爱燕, 安玉琴, 王大海. 论西藏生态产业体系及发展重点[J]. 西藏大学学报(社会科学版), 2010, (12): 28-31.

— Original Chinese text —

三、进一步扩大利用外资的潜力分析

随着西藏自治区经济的快速发展及对外开放进一步扩大,西藏具有进一步提高利用外资的巨大潜力。

(一)西藏社会经济发展迅速

西藏自治区成立60年来经济迅速发展,1959年至2010年,西藏生产总值由1.74亿元增长到507.46亿元,按可比价格计算,年均增长9.1%;人均生产总值由142元提高到了1.7万元。西藏的现代工业从无到有,从小到大,目前已初步形成了富有西藏特色的工业生产体系。现代商业、旅游、邮电、饮食服务、文化娱乐、IT业等新兴产业迅速崛起。西藏经济的快速发展为吸引外资进入奠定了生产和市场基础。

(二)立体交通网络和通讯网络已基本建成

目前西藏已基本建起了航空、铁路、公路一体化的立体交通网络。西藏7个地市有5个通航,并开通了拉萨至北京、成都、广州、香港、尼泊尔的国内外航线21条。青藏铁路的建成通车结束了西藏自治区没有铁路的历史,使得长期制约西藏发展的交通瓶颈得以解决。青藏公路、川藏公路、中尼公路等5条国道贯穿拉萨东西南北。自治区所有乡镇和80%以上的行政村通公路,通车里程达到5.8万公里。西藏继2004年实现“县县通光缆、乡乡通电话”、2007年“乡乡通传真”、2010年“村村通电话”目标之后,2011年6月又实现了“乡乡通宽带”。便利的交通通讯网络,提高了物流运输效率,为外资企业来藏投资发展和产品进入内地和国际市场创造了便利的条件。

(三)具有吸引外资的特色优势产业

在国家大力支持下,西藏正在形成以旅游业、藏医药业、高原特色生物产业和绿色食(饮)品业等为特色的六大支柱产业。这些产业作为西藏亟待发展的支柱产业,蕴藏着巨大的商机,对外商投资具有较强的吸引力。

1.旅游业。西藏具有特色鲜明的人文景观和得天独厚的高原自然风光,旅游业潜力巨大。而目前西藏在旅游人文资源、自然资源开发与利用,景区开发以及配套设施建设等方面还需要更多资金投入,因此外商投资可大有作为。

2.藏医药业。藏医药以系统完整的医学理论、得天独厚的药物资源、安全有效的方剂,在世界传统医学中占有重要地位。近年来,西藏藏医药业得到了长足发展,已逐渐成为重要的经济增长点。

3.高原特色生物产业和绿色食(饮)品业。西藏野生动植物资源种类丰富,可以将生物资源优势转化成经济优势;西藏饮用水资源蕴藏量大、微量元素丰富,可以大力发展矿泉水、啤酒、植物保健品等。西藏高原特色生物产业和绿色食(饮)品业发展潜力巨大。

4.农畜产品加工业和民族手工业。西藏独特的农畜产品资源,如青稞、绒山羊、藏系绵羊、牦牛等具有良好的开发前景。具有浓厚西藏特色的民族手工艺品,如地毯、唐卡、藏香、围裙等市场前景广阔。

5.矿业。西藏矿产资源丰富,已探明的矿产资源中有18种储量居全国前10位,其中12种居前5位,铬、铜则居全国首位。目前矿业开发已成为西藏经济的重要支柱产业之一。因此积极引导和争取国内外资金投入西藏矿业开发和环境保护大有可为。

6.建筑建材业。建筑建材业在西藏经济中占有重要地位。“十一五”期间,西藏建筑业保持了年均20%的增长速度,带动了建材业等相关产业发展。今后随着西藏各项经济建设的加快,西藏的建筑建材业必将迎来大发展。因此,引进外资对此领域的投资对西藏当地经济和外资企业都会有巨大收益。

(四)连接南亚的独特地缘优势

西藏与南亚五个国家和一个地区接壤,边境线长达近4000公里,对外通道312条,西藏正在成为连接东亚和南亚大陆桥陆路通道的重要一环。随着青藏铁路的全面开通与运营,东亚与南亚陆路通道成为最经济与快捷的商贸通道。可以预期在不久的将来,中国西藏将成为中国与印度、东亚与南亚物流贸易的重要集散地和交易区。随着中国与南亚国家贸易往来的增加,双方在包括投资在内的各方面经济往来也必将逐渐增加。现在来西藏投资的尼泊尔客商越来越多,还有来自印度的投资也开始进入西藏。作为与这些国家接壤的地区,西藏吸引外资大有潜力。

四、加强利用外资的对策与建议

外商直接投资对推动西藏经济发展、提升技术水平以及参与地区经济合作都将起到积极作用,进一步加强吸引和利用外资是西藏未来经济发展的重要途径之一。

(一)加强对外宣传,积极参与国内外各种推介活动

目前西藏对外宣传的力度还不够,与各国和地区的交流机制还需加强。西藏可以通过参与国内外各种宣传展示和推介活动,举办经贸洽谈会、产品(项目)推介活动、节日庆典活动等形式,宣传西藏招商引资的优惠政策和良好投资环境;展示西藏丰富的自然资源和巨大的开发前景;广泛结交世界各地工商企业界人士,促进西藏与各地的经贸互动关系;推销西藏名优新特产品以及优秀的文化艺术和瑰丽的自然风光,让世界进一步了解西藏,从而吸引越来越多的投资者来藏投资。

(二)促进外资与西藏经济和资源协调发展

根据当前西藏经济发展的基础、特点和资源现状,西藏正在大力实施“一产上水平、二产抓重点、三产大发展”的经济发展战略,即积极推进一产上水平,加快发展现代农牧业;有重点地发展第二产业,着力增强工业发展实力;大力发展第三产业,加快服务业结构优化升级。因此,西藏在第一产业方面应积极通过利用外资,引进先进的生物技术、种养植技术等,来促进第一产业发展上水平;对于第二产业,西藏应积极引导外资投向能源产业、农畜产品加工业、高原生物和绿色食(饮)品业等,有重点地发展矿产业,改造提升建材业,加快推进藏药产业化,鼓励发展民族手工业,以增强工业发展实力;第三产业方面,西藏应积极利用外资发展旅游产业体系、深度开发文化体验、生态观光等转型旅游产品,同时积极吸引外资物流企业,发展西藏现代物流产业。

(三)促进外资与西藏生态环境协调发展

由于生态环境脆弱,西藏应坚持可持续发展,在利用外资方面,要严把生态环境关、资源消耗关,落实好环保“一票否决制”。鼓励外资企业推广使用清洁能源,充分利用新能源和可再生能源,推广适宜高原环境的光热、光电、风能、地热等新产品和新技术;严格限制高耗能企业发展,鼓励外资企业推广应用节能环保的新工艺、新技术、新设备、新材料;引进国外先进技术,提高黑色和有色金属共伴生矿产资源综合利用率。此外,还可引导外资企业投资发展生态环保产业,消除经济活动对资源和生态环境状况的负面影响,以保证经济系统的生态可持续性,促进外资与西藏生态环境协调发展。

(四)使开发区(工业园区)成为吸引外资的重要载体

从全国外资的区域分布来看,开发区(工业园区)往往是各地区外资分布较为集中的区域。如2010年,全国90个经济技术开发区实际利用外资占全国实际利用外资金额的28.9%。虽然西藏的开发区(工业园区)建设大多还处于起步阶段,但西藏开发区具有环境、政策、区位等优势,必将成为外资聚集区域。因此,西藏应以开发区和工业园区为载体,积极推进各开发区(工业园区)的建设,紧紧抓住机遇,放开投资领域,降低投资门坎,优化结构,主动出击,多轮驱动,加大吸引外资力度,以点(开发区、工业园区)带面,带动更多外资来藏投资,从而提高西藏产业集约化程度,并形成完整产业链条。

(五)继续完善基础设施建设

尽管西藏在基础设施建设方面已经取得了巨大成就,但还存在需要改进的地方,如目前全区没有一条高等级公路,公路网密度仅为全国平均水平的1/10。由于特殊地质结构和恶劣气候条件,公路抵御灾害能力十分脆弱,这对西藏经济发展和吸引外资十分不利。因此,西藏还要继续完善基础设施建设。加快青藏铁路沿线和“一江三河”地区交通枢纽建设,加强各种交通运输方式的配合衔接,推进拉萨至日喀则、山南、那曲、林芝4小时经济圈建设,实现区内交通运输通达通畅。此外,还要加快建设西藏通达全国各地的快捷大通道,积极建设南亚贸易陆路大通道,为西藏经济发展和吸引外资创造良好外部条件。

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