- Lanzhou (Gansu)
- Yinchuan (Ningxia)
- Xining (Qinghai)
- Xi’an (Shaanxi)
- Gansu Population: 25.64 million
- Ningxia Population: 6.39 million
- Qinghai Population: 5.68 million
- Shaanxi Population: 37.43 million
The Northwest China region is one of the cradles of Chinese civilisation. To the east of the region, Shaanxi is home to the fossil remains of Lantian Man (primitive man from 5-6 million years ago), and more notably the 8000 Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in Xi’an, buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. Discovered in 1974, the Terracotta Warriors are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Northwest region also includes the trail of the Silk Road, a historically important international trade route between China and the Mediterranean. As China comprised a large proportion of the silk trade along this ancient road, it was named the ‘Silk Road’ in 1877. These network of trade and cultural transmission routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East by linking traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads, and urban dwellers during various periods of time.
The western side of the region includes Gansu, sered as one of the earliest channels for cultural exchanges and trade between the East and West during the Han and Tang Dynasties.
The region continues to develop as a newly emerging industrial site, with Qinghai Province the political, cultural and economic centre of the area.
The agricultural sector is still very important to Gansu. In terms of cultivated areas, corn, wheat, tubers (such as potatoes), oil bearing crops (mainly rapeseed), vegetables and Chinese medicine herbs are the leading farm corps. Animal husbandry is another major sector raising mainly cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep and goats. Mutton, beef and sheep wool are also major outputs of Gansu. Additionally, based on advantages with resources, Gansu has established an industrial system led by the petroleum industry, metallurgical industry, chemical industry and food processing industry. Gansu aims to develop new energy resources, including wind and solar energy, and related equipment industries. It will strengthen as the production base of synthetic fibre. To utilise the advantages in animal husbandry and agricultural products, Gansu will further develop its leather and food processing industries.
Ningxia has strong advantages in agriculture development: there are 19 million hectares of arable land, with 3.5 hectares per capita. With 10.7 million hectares of barren land ready to be cultivated, Ningxia is one of the 8 provinces having over 10 million hectares of barren land waiting for cultivation. It is also one of the ten pastoral areas in China. Based on the advantages on resources such as coal, petroleum, gypsum, natural gas, wool and so on, Ningxia has established an industrial system leaded by coal industry, metallurgical industry, chemical industry and wool textile industry etc.
Qinghai is a large province with many resources such as pastoral, hydropower, mineral, saline, petroleum & gas resources. The natural resources endowment has had a great influence on shaping the industry structure of Qinghai. Traditionally, petroleum & natural gas industries, the power generating industry, non-ferrous metal industry and saline chemical industry are the major industrial sectors.
Shaanxi is a major agricultural base. Its agricultural products such as grain, vegetables, cured tobacco, apple and Chinese chestnuts are in a leading position in China. It is a major production and processing centre for fruit. Thanks to its abundant reserves of coal, natural gas and oil, Shaanxi has also evolved into an important energy production base and it has a well-developed electricity generation sector. There are plans to supply gas and electricity from Shaanxi to eastern China.
Additionally, rich resource endowments have given rise to heavy industry. Shaanxi manufactures various types of equipment, e.g. oil drills, grinding machines, lathe, and equipment for railways, mining, electricity generating, and petroleum and chemical processing etc. It also has a sizeable iron and steel making sector.
Lanzhou lamian is a type of Chinese noodle. It is made by twisting, stretching and folding the dough into strands. The length and thickness of the strands depends on the number of times the dough is folded. In Gansu, the noodles are usually served in a clear broth with beef.
Roujiamou or meat burger/sandwich is a street food originating from Shaanxi Province and now widely consumed all over China. The meat is most commonly pork stewed in a soup containing many spices and seasonings. Many alternative meat fillings are also available. The cooked meat is then minced or chopped, mixed with coriander and mild peppers and stuff in “mo”, a type of flat bread.