China's vast western region covers nearly two thirds of the country and boasts the country's longest border. As the most secluded area, the western region lagged behind China's prosperous eastern coastal area in social and economic development.
At the dawn of the new century, the Central Government formulated a plan of strategic importance, kicking off the Western Development campaign to facilitate development in west China. According to the blueprint, while implementing the plan, local governments should give priority to eco-system protection, focus on improving infrastructure, adjust the structure of local industrial sectors and cultivate certain industries that will improve the people's livelihood, education and overall welfare.
Under the framework, a number of pilot engineering projects, such as the West-to-East natural gas and power transmission projects, have been completed in the past 10 years. During that same period, local governments launched major irrigation, energy and communications projects, beefed up eco-system protection efforts, improved local residents' livelihoods, encouraged local industries to develop faster, and pushed through a new set of policies for reform and opening up.
After a decade's development, all kinds of economic indicators showed that the western region's economy was growing faster than the central and eastern areas, allowing the western region to become a new growth point in China's economy.