The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region with its capital of Hohhot, lies along the northern border of China. Nearly 17% of the population is Mongolian. It neighbors Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to the east, south and west, as well as Russia and Mongolia to the north. The region is a long, narrow strip of land sloping from north to south, spanning 2,400 kilometers from west to east and 1,700 kilometers from north to south. It covers 1.18 million square kilometers, accounting for 12.3% of China’s territory.
With a continental monsoon climate, vast grassland plateaus with a flat surface and mountains along its fringe, the region is home to 362 species of birds, 117 species of animals and 2,351 species of plants (including arbors, shrubs and herb vegetation). It is also rich in water resources, especially mineral water and springs with medical value. Nearly 1,000 rivers flow through the region and it is dotted with approximately 1,000 lakes. In addition, Inner Mongolia has a huge coal reserve and natural alkali reserve, as well as rare-earth resources such as asbestos and mica.
The origin of the autonomous region can be traced back to the Ordos people who lived there 2,000 years ago. The long history contributes to a large number of historic cultural relics, such as the Zhaojun Tomb in Hohhot, the Genghis Khan Mausoleum, the Five-tower Temple and the Wudangzhao Monastery in Yijinhuoluo County. The beautiful grasslands, Mongolian ethnic culture and relics are the key tourist attractions in this region.
Inner Mongolia’s economy has been developing with a two-digit growth rate since 2000. In 2006, GDP reached RMB 479.1 billion, 18.7% higher than in 2005. Figure 12.5.1 shows the GDP breakdown by sector. The industrial sector contributes nearly 50% of the total GDP, while the service and agricultural sectors contribute 37.8% and 13.6%.
Fixed asset investment stood at RMB 340.6 billion, up 26.75% year-on-year. As manufacturing and mining play an essential role in the region’s economy, RMB 183.4 billion was injected into the industrial sector in 2006, accounting for more than one half of the region’s total.
The agricultural and service sectors received RMB 14.3 billion and RMB 143 billion in the same year, 18.5% and 32.1% higher than in 2005 respectively. Figure 12.5.2 shows the fixed asset investment breakdown by industry.
Inner Mongolia is an important consumer market in western China. In 2006, the total sales of consumer goods increased by 16% year-on-year to RMB 159.5 billion.
Inner Mongolia has a strong agricultural industry. As one of China’s livestock husbandry bases and one of the nation’s major pastoral areas, Inner Mongolia’s agricultural sector features a livestock husbandry.
The gross output value from the husbandry sector jumped 8.6% year-on-year to RMB 48.7 billion in 2006, accounting for 3.6% of China’s total. The total amount of livestock stood at 8.4 million, taking up 5.3% of the country’s total.
The pillar industries in Inner Mongolia include metallurgy, coal mining and processing, food processing, equipment manufacturing, petrochemicals and chemicals, and energy, which made up more than 80% of the region’s total gross output in 2006.
Inner Mongolia has rich chromite ore and zinc reserves, both ranking the second largest in China. The region is also rich in iron ore, with its reserves ranking the fourth largest in the country.
The rich mineral resources contribute to the steady development of the region’s metallurgy industry. In 2006, it generated RMB 27.8 billion worth of industrial value-added output from the smelting and processing of ferrous metal, and RMB 11.4 billion industrial value-added output from the smelting and processing of nonferrous metals. This made up 22.1% of the region’s total. The production of steel and steel products, pig iron and 10 major nonferrous metals rose 6.4%, 20.1% and 30% year-on-year to 16.9 million tons, 11.1 million tons, and 0.9 million tons respectively.
Baotou Iron&Steel (Group) Co. Ltd, with total assets amounting to RMB 29.5 billion, is the largest industrial enterprise in Inner Mongolia. Other major players in this sector include Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Union Co. Ltd, Baotou Aluminum Industry Group, HongJun Aluminum and Power Co. Ltd, and East Hope Baotou Rare-earth&Al Industry Co. Ltd.
Rich solar power and wind power resources, and the large coal reserve make the region one of the key power suppliers for China’s Northeast Power Grid, the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan Power Grid and China’s neighboring country, Mongolia. In 2006, it generated 144.1 billion kwh, 34.7% higher than in 2005. Many solar power plants, wind power plants as well as coal power plants are clustered in this region. The key players include Datang Tuoketuo Power Generation Company, Shenhua Group Zhungeer Energy Industry Co. Ltd and Yimin Huaneng Coal&Electricity Co. Ltd.
The region had 80.2 billion tons of ensured coal reserves in 2006, the second highest in China, and is home to the Shenhua Group, China’s largest coal producer. In 2006, coal output in this region jumped 16.2% year-on-year to 297.6 million tons, contributing over RMB 29.8 billion worth of industrial value-added output, and RMB 9.4 billion worth of profit to the coal mining and processing industry.
Similarly, the great variety of farming products and large amount of livestock contribute to the development of the food processing industry in the region. Inner Mongolia is thus known as China’s largest dairy product manufacturing base. In 2006, nearly 3.5 million tons of dairy products were produced in the region, 12.4% more than the previous year. Mengniu Milk Industry Group and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. Ltd, China’s two leading milk product manufacturers, have established their headquarters here.
There were 341 enterprises specializing in petrochemical and chemical products in 2006, with a total industrial value-added output of RMB 11.6 billion. The profit from the following industries, petroleum processing, raw chemical and chemical products, coke products and nuclear fuel processing, exceeded RMB 1 billion in 2006. Leading enterprises in this sector include Tianye Chemical Industry (Group) Co. Ltd, Inner Mongolia Jinhe Industry Group and Lan Tai Industrial Co. Ltd.
The wholesale and retail trade, and logistics are the two most important contributors to the region’s service sector in terms of value-added output. RMB 42.6 billion of value-added output was generated by the logistics industry in 2006, representing an increase of 14.1% year-on-year, while that from the wholesale and retail trade rose 14.0% to RMB 39 billion. Figure 12.5.4 shows the share of value-added output by the major service industries.
Foreign Trade&Foreign Investment
The foreign trade volume has increased by 22.4% year-on-year to US$ 5.9 billion, with imports rising 23.2% year-on-year to US$3.8 billion and exports climbing 20.7% year-on-year to US$2.1 billion.
Major import goods include minerals (US$1.3 billion), wood and wooden products, charcoal, cork and related products, straws, plaited products, baskets and wickerwork (US$1 billion), chemicals and related products (US$528 million), and electronics (US$434 million). The main export goods include base metal and related products (US$735.1 million), textile materials and related products (US$487.3 million), chemical and related products (US$208.8 million), electronic products (US$162.7 million), and vegetables, fruit and cereals (US$122.6 million).
Major export destinations are Japan (US$300.9 million), the U.S. (US$292.3 million), South Korea (US$209.1 million), Italy (US$166.2 million) and Mongolia (US$209.1 million).In 2006, actualized FDI surged 47% year-on-year to US$1.7 billion. Most of the FDI was channeled into manufacturing (US$949.3 million), energy (US$499.6 million), real estate (US$100.8 million) and resident services and other services (US$37.4 million). The investments mainly came from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the U.S. and Australia.
Major Development Zones
There are 5 state-level and 37 provincial-level development zones in Inner Mongolia. The state-level development zones are Baotou Rare-Earth High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, Erenhot Border Economic Cooperative Area, Huhhot Economic and Technological Development Zone, Huhhot Export Processing Zone, and Man Zhouli Border Economic Cooperative Area. Table 12.5.1 shows the area, pillar industries and industrial output of the state-level development zones.
There were 36 universities and colleges in Inner Mongolia in 2006, with the number of graduates soaring 41% year-on-year to 55,700. Inner Mongolia University, established in Hohhot in 1957, in the key university in the region.
Major Cities in Inner Mongolia
There are 12 cities in Inner Mongolia. Table 12.5.2 shows the GDP, population and land area of each of these cities. As illustrated by the table, Baotou, Hohhot and Erdos are the three cities with the greatest economic growth, boasting GDPs of RMB101.0 billion, RMB 90.0 billion and RMB 80.0 billion respectively.
Hohhot, meaning “Green City” in Mongolian, is situated in the central area of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with the Yellow River flowing through its south. With a temperate monsoon climate and sufficient sunshine, it is home to over 600 species of wild plants, and a large number of wild birds and animals. The key tourist destinations in Hohhot are the Dazhao Lamasery, Zhaojun’s Tomb and the Five Pagoda Temple.
Hohhot, known as “The Dairy Capital” in China, is home to the country’s two leading dairy producers - Mengniu Milk Industry Group and Yili Industrial Group. Dairy product manufacturing, electric power, electronics, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy and equipment manufacturing form the major industries in Hohhot, generating RMB 17.1 billion in industrial value-added output, and accounting for 74% of the city’s total in 2006.
Hohhot has 9 development zones which include 2 state-level development zones (Hohhot Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Hohhot Export Development Zone). They encourage investments in the IT, electronics, machinery, new materials, pharmaceuticals, high-tech and dairy industries.
As an intersection point for the Trans-Asia rail, the railway linking Hohhot to Frankfurt has played an important role for the bilateral trade between China, Mongolia, Russia and the European countries. Foreign trade volume rose from 50.94% in 2003 to US$740 million in 2006. The leading export goods include chemicals and related products (US$65.1 million), textiles (US$74.3 million), and electronic products and equipment (US$69.8 million).
Important Travel Information
Time taken to travel from Hohhot to the following destinations:
- Zhengzhou 1 hour 5 mins
3 hours 10 mins
2 hours 20 mins
1 hour 40 mins
2 hours 20 mins