Lhasa: Tibet in China has set the ambitious target of achieving GDP growth exceeding 10 percent in 2016, the regional government said on Wednesday.
Tibet reported 11 percent GDP growth in 2015, which reached 102.6 billion yuan ($15.6 billion), Xinhua quoted an official as saying.
Outlining this year’s development plan, the official said Tibet aims to achieve a 20 percent increase in its fixed asset investments and raise the incomes of its urban and rural residents by 10 percent and 13 percent.
China posted its slowest GDP growth in a quarter century of 6.9 percent in 2015, and many provinces have lowered their growth targets for 2016 to between six and nine percent.
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Despite the double-digit growth over the past 22 years, Tibet still struggles with poor infrastructure, weak industry and a lack of talent, said Luorong Dradul, an economics professor at Sichuan University who specialises in the Tibetan economy.
Tibet’s GDP ranks the last in China, less than half of Qinghai province, which is second last, and it has 590,000 rural residents living under the poverty line of 2,300 yuan in annual income.
“It still faces daunting tasks of achieving the moderately prosperous society. While other parts of China are slowing down, Tibet must continue to speed up in order to catch up,” he said.
Financial support from the central government has boosted confidence in maintaining double-digit growth, Luorong Dradul said.
At a meeting on Tibet’s development last year, President Xi Jinping promised continued special financial, tax, and investment policies for Tibet and Tibetan-inhabited areas in four other provinces.
China has invested heavily to enrich Tibet and improve its public services. In 2014, the per capita disposable income of urban residents in the region was 22,016 yuan, a 38-fold increase compared with 565 yuan in 1978, and that of farmers and herdsmen was 7,359 yuan, representing an average annual increase of 10.9 percent, according to a government white paper published in September.