The central government decided to set up a special economic zone in Kashgar of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in May 2010as an important window to showcase the opening up of West China, promoting a new pattern that weights both the “opening up on the land” and “opening up along the seaside”. The new special economic zone is expected to give new economic growth impetus to the whole region. According to the blueprint, the special economic zone covers an area of 50 square kilometers, including 40 square kilometers in Kashi and 10 square kilometers around Ikelstan port.
Kashgar enjoys geographic advantages in that it connects with five countries and is close to three others, which meant it was an important post house on the Silk Road in ancient times and is now a significant stage in the Silk Road economic belt and the starting point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In 2017 some 28.1 billion yuan ($4.16 billion)had been invested in the development zone and its import and export volume reached $1.8 billion. As of August 2018, the special economic zone had accumulatively built 130-kilometer-long roads that shaped the zone’s fundamental transportation network. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of the zone, including water, electricity, gas, heating and public services, has been put in place. Some 3,520 companies employing nearly 20,000 workers have registered with the zone.
The special economic zone will be developed into an innovation experimental area for border opening-up as well as a regional financial and trade center, economic center, commercial and logistics center and economic and technological center with international influence.