Lanzhou is the largest city in the upper reaches of the Yellow River and a key hub in the New Eurasian Continental Bridge.
As a city put to develop heavy industries as per the central government's request after 1949, Lanzhou has seen the development of petrochemicals, equipment manufacturing, non-ferrous metallurgy, energy, electricity, and mining materials, among others. Additionally, other sectors such as specialty agriculture, market trading, culture and tourism have also flourished in the city.
More than six decades’ worth of development, especially since the reform and opening up of China in 1980s, has put Lanzhou's growth on the fast track, with an ever-expanding GDP volume and optimizing structure. Along with Lanzhou's rising competitiveness, people's quality of life is improving continuously. Hence, Lanzhou is proud of being a hub for the province as well as all of southwest China.
In 2011, the local GDP reached 136.00 billion yuan, up 15.0 percent year on year. Specifically, the primary industry (agriculture) expanded by 4 billion yuan, up 5.2 percent, the second industry (manufacturing and construction) increased by 65.66 billion yuan, up 16.3 percent, and the tertiary industry grew by 66.35 billion yuan, up 14.3 percent, all calculated on a year-on-year basis.
Lanzhou is the cradle for China's petrochemical industry. The first modern refinery and the first ethylene cracker in China since 1949 were both set up in this city. After years of development, particularly since the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010), Lanzhou's petrochemical industry has expanded to cover 25 sectors including synthetic materials, fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, fine chemicals and plastics.
During the 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015), Lanzhou will continue to develop petrochemicals based on the advantages of the "backbone" companies, such as Lanzhou Petrochemical Company and China National Bluestar, in addition to CNPC's 10 megaton-scale refinery project, which is being finalized in Lanzhou. By the end of 2015, Lanzhou's petrochemical industry will be able to reach an annual capacity of 20 million tons of crude refinement, two million tons of ethylene, three million tons of synthetic resins and 600,000 tons of synthetic rubber.
Non-ferrous metallurgy is one of the four major pillars – along with petrochemicals, equipment manufacturing and agricultural processes – of Lanzhou's economy. Lanzhou will continue to develop aluminum extraction and steel processing along with other non-ferrous materials. Lanzhou plans to have non-ferrous metallurgy contribute more than 9 billion yuan to the city's total GDP, or 8 percent of the total growth by 2015.
The equipment manufacturing in Lanzhou has picked up speed, reflected in its more than 20-percent annual growth in nearly 10 years. The sector consists of the machinery for petrochemicals, general machinery manufacturing, electrical appliances and instrumentation manufacturing. By the end of the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), this sector will be able to contribute more than 10 billion yuan to the city's GDP, or around 9 percent of the total growth.
Energy and new energy
Energy and new energy are both well-established industries in Lanzhou, a city with 22 power companies. By the end of 2010, the citywide power generation capacity reached 4.38 million KW, in which hydropower accounted for 1.35 million KW and thermal power accounted for 3.04 million KW. The period between 2011 and 2015 will see intensified development of solar power, integrated use of charcoal, clean energy-powered central heating and nuclear energy. The city has plans to expand the power sector by reaching a capacity of 40 billion kwh by 2015.
Strategic emerging industries
Apart from the fast-developing traditional industries, emerging industries are also flourishing in Lanzhou. Mostly located in the high-tech development zone and economic and technological development zone, high-tech industries such as bio-pharmaceuticals, new materials, electronic information and precision manufacturing are quickly becoming new sources of growth.
Modern service sector
The rise of income has been continuously upgrading the consumption structure in Lanzhou. Spending on automobiles, housing, tourism, culture, education and health is increasing. As a result, the modern service sector is becoming more important in its contribution to the local economy.
Blessed by its rich cultural deposit in the city, tourism in Lanzhou started to become a focus of development about 10 years ago in a bid to be shaped into a new source of growth and a contributor of industrial upgrade. In 2010, Lanzhou saw some 8.88 million visitors from China and 31,000 from overseas, respectively up by 26.8 percent and 33.8 from the previous year. The booming tourism sector in 2010 reported a gross revenue of 6.28 billion yuan, up 69.7 percent with a positive forward spin.
Farm produce processing
Specialty farm produce processing is another feature of Lanzhou, based on the city's variety of agricultural products. The city plans to increase the plantation of summer vegetables and fruits to 10,000 ha by 2015. mining As its regional economy seeks accelerated integration, Lanzhou, a city with decent infrastructure, unique comparative advantage and a highly efficient business environment, will be an ideal place for investment.