The central government decided to set up two economic development zones with special economic policies in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in a conference in 2010. One of the economic development zones was set up in Khorgos. The Khorgos Economic Development Zone is located in Ili Kazakh autonomous prefecture of Xinjiang with a planned area of about 73 square kilometers.
In 2018, the import and export cargo volume in the development zone rose 23.3 percent year-on-year to reach 35.7 million tons while its import and export volume surged 22.2 percent to 135.20 billion yuan ($20.01 billion), accounting for 60.2 percent and 45.6 percent, respectively, of all the customs areas in Xinjiang and ranking first among all the ports in the region. As an important stage on the Silk Road, Khorgos has been the closest and most convenient port linking China links with Central Asia, West Asia and Europe, and as a result has been a hub of the Land Bridge of Asia and Europe.
The development zone will enhance its comprehensive bonded services and improve the functions of international transshipment, entrepot trade and import and export processing to attract more foreign trade and processing companies in 2019. It will develop five plants for deep processing of the agriculture and sideline products, wood processing, textile and garment production, machinery and equipment manufacturing and bio-medicine development. It will also build five trade platforms.