VI. Conclusion: Prospects for Growth and Development
Although Tibet's social and economic development was affected by the March 14 Incident in 2008, the incident was quickly quashed, and Tibet's economic development has maintained a strong momentum. On-the-spot surveys and relevant statistics show that the impact of the March 14 Incident on most industries in Tibet was limited, except for temporary difficulties for tourism. The total grain output of Tibet in 2008 reached 950,000 tons, an increase of more than 10,000 tons over the previous year and topping 900,000 tons for ten years running. The grain yield per ha was 5,581 kg. In 2008 the output of rape and vegetables was 59,200 tons and 460,000 tons, an increase of 13.6 percent and 2.1 percent over 2007, respectively; the output of meat and milk was 3.4 percent and 2.0 percent higher than in the previous year. The added value completed by Tibet's secondary industry was worth 11.576 billion yuan in 2008, an increase of 7.9 percent over 2007. It is worth mentioning that as stability was restored to Tibet, tourism has shown notable signs of recovery. In the latter half of 2008, especially during the week-long National Day holiday, a considerable number of Chinese and foreign tourists were coming back to Tibet. Although Tibet's tourism performance in 2008 could not be compared with that of the previous two years, trade, transportation, and posts and telecommunications in Tibet developed rapidly. The added value contributed by Tibet's tertiary industry reached 21.964 billion yuan in 2008, 12.4 percent higher than in 2007.
Moreover, investment remains a strong driving force for Tibet's economic growth. In the first half of 2008, despite the disturbance of the March 14 Incident, investment in fixed assets amounted to 9.013 billion yuan, an increase of 9.2 percent over the same period of the previous year. At present, Tibet is increasing investment in accordance with the Tibet Autonomous Region's Project Scheme in the 11th Five-Year Plan Period (2006-2010), which had been approved by the central government. According to the Scheme, 77.88 billion yuan will be invested in Tibet for the construction of 180 projects. When these projects are completed, the total investment will exceed 100 billion yuan. Such an enormous investment will maintain Tibet's economic growth at a relatively high level, providing the region's economic development with promising prospects.
In addition to the stimulation of investment, local demand and consumption are giving an increasingly stronger impetus to Tibet's economic development. In 2008, the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet surpassed 3,000 yuan for the first time in history, 13.9 percent higher than in the previous year. A survey conducted among 100 households in the farming and pastoral areas of Tibet by the China Tibetology Research Center in 2008 shows that, with the increase of income, 30 percent of the households surveyed planned to build new houses in the next five years; nearly 60 percent planned to buy mobile phones in the next one or two years; 20 percent planned to buy tractors; 15 percent planned to buy motorcycles in the next three years; and five percent planned to buy automobiles in the next five years. Therefore, consumption demand and investment will probably form a joint force to promote the sound and rapid economic development of Tibet.