Xining – A city at the crossroads of history

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An introduction by Zhang Xiaorong, Mayor of Xining

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It is a tremendous honour for me to present this City Guide of Xining to the readers of Euromoney.

Xining is a city with a rich past and a brilliant future. It is the capital of Qinghai province in northwest China and is known throughout the country as the 'cool city’ because of its climate and high altitude. We have a thriving industrial sector, a wealth of natural resources, and we are visited by 14 million tourists a year who come here to enjoy the spectacular natural beauty on our doorstep.

What makes our city so special is its unique geography on the edge of the vast and enchanting Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Xining is the gateway to Tibet and, critically, a hub city on the New Silk Road that China is creating under the 'One Belt, One Road’ policy announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Under this visionary policy, global trade is being reshaped and reimagined. High-speed express railway lines and a network of national highways are step by step linking China to southern Asia, Central Asia and Europe. The process is opening up a new world of commercial opportunity and connecting hundreds of millions of people from east and west – and each of the key land routes along the New Silk Road passes through Xining.

Throughout the centuries, Xining has been a buzzing centre of commerce and transportation set at the heart of the ancient Silk Road. Our position at a vital key intersection of the great trade route has given us a colourful history and made our city a melting pot of nationalities and religions. We are a city where Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists and people from 35 different national and ethnic groups live and work side by side, in harmony.

Our city’s character and prosperity has been shaped in part by our illustrious visitors. In the seventh century, Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty travelled through Xining on the Silk Road to marry King Songtsan Gampo of Tibet in a union that introduced Chinese culture to Tibet and opened up the Silk Road to centuries of flourishing trade.

Today, Xining faces a new challenge of history. We are working tirelessly to enhance our infrastructure and upgrade our industry and commercial sector for our role as a hub city on the New Silk Road. Across Xining today, you will see new homes, new roads and new transportation links such as our dazzling new railway station catering to the high-speed rail network that opened in December.

We have an extraordinary future ahead of us,
where our destinies are intertwined

Zhang Xiaorong, Mayor of Xining

We are focusing our efforts on making the best use of our natural resources and developing our key industries such as the production of lithium batteries for electric vehicles and the production of Tibetan carpets, which are being sold everywhere from Sydney to Berlin to the US.

As the city’s mayor, however, I am determined that as we modernise, we safeguard our ecology and ensure that we create a green, liveable city for our citizens and for the many people who will come to Xining from China and abroad in the years to come. We have taken effective steps to reduce air pollution, plant trees, clear our roads of polluting vehicles and create green spaces across our city in recent years and will continue that mission. Our city will only prosper in future if it cares for and nurtures its ecology and environment.

In Xining today, we stand at the crossroads of history. We have in our hands a historic opportunity to be part of an exciting new chapter in the story not just of China but of trade and commerce across the continents. Our responsibility is to rise to that challenge and play our place in a world of exciting new commercial and cultural connections along the New Silk Road.

Many of you picking up this City Guide to Xining – a city thousands of miles away from your offices and workplaces overseas – may have heard little or nothing about our city. As you will discover, however, we are much closer than you might imagine and we have an extraordinary future ahead of us, where our destinies are intertwined.

The New Silk Road offers us a way to overcome the barriers of geography and nationality and hold out the hand of friendship across continents. Xining is opening up to the world, and I hope you can join us on the journey of discovery and opportunity that lies ahead.