Stockbreeding serves as one of the major industries in minorities’ economy and since the endorsement of individual responsibility system for meadows and livestock in 1980s, livestock are sold to individuals and right to the use of meadow endowed to households; meanwhile, measures have been strengthened to boost the development of meadow and improve its protection and management. At present, rapid development has been achieved in China’s major pasture regions, including Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia. Statistics shows that at present the total number of livestock in China’s pasture regions and semi-pasture and semi-farming regions has reached over 100 million each year. The rate of mature livestock has raised and the survival rate and the commercialization rate of livestock have also witnessed a significant increase. In addition, there are family-run ranches in some of China’s pasture regions and their production capacity and business performance have been greatly enhanced due to large-scale business management and adoption of advanced techniques in their production.
Being the absorber of a great deal of economic resources and major place for non-agricultural social and economic activities, cities play a pivotal role in the economic development in the regions where ethnic minorities live. Like their counterparts in other parts of China, cities of minorities have witnessed rapid economic development since 1980s. Statistics shows that the total number of industrial enterprises in regions where national autonomy is practiced has reached more than one million and the business layout featuring coexistence of varied economies, including large modern enterprises, private industry, commerce and service industry, has been shaped. In addition, urbanization in regions such as Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang has exceeded the average level in China, which plays a leading role in the general economic development in regions where ethnic minorities live.
Non-public economy has become an important factor that no one could ignore in the urban economic growth in regions where ethnic minorities live. For instance, by the end of 20th century, non-public economy has accounted for over 40 percent of the GNP in Qinghai Province.
In addition, in the course of opening up to the outside world, many cities in regions where ethnic nationalities live have gradually expanded and deepened their international communication and cooperation, including that of economy and technology. At present, these regions boast some large corporation groups that are renowned both home and abroad, such as Erdos Cashmere Group Corporation Limited in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Tianye Corporation Limited in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.