Economy of Sichuan
Sichuan has been historically known as the "Province of Abundance". It is one of the major agricultural production bases of China. Grain, including rice and wheat, is the major product. Commercial crops include citrus fruits, sugar canes, sweet potatoes, peaches and rapeseeds. Sichuan is rich in mineral resources. It has more than 132 kinds of proven underground mineral resources of which reserves of 11 kinds including vanadium, titanium, and lithium are the largest in China. The Panxi region alone possesses 13.3% of the reserves of iron, 93% of titanium, 69% of vanadium, and 83% of cobalt of the whole country.
Sichuan is one of the major industrial bases of China. In addition to heavy industries such as coal, energy, iron and steel industry, the province has established a light manufacturing sector comprising building materials, wood processing, food and silk processing. Chengdu and Mianyang are the production bases for textiles and electronics products. Deyang, Panzhihua, and Yibin are the production bases for machinery, metallurgy industries, and wine respectively. Great strides have been achieved in accelerating the development of Sichuan into a modern hi-tech industrial base by encouraging both domestic and foreign investments in electronics and information technology (such as software), machinery and metallurgy (including automobiles), hydropower, pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries. The auto industry is important and a key sector of the machinery industry in Sichuan. Most of the auto manufacturing companies are located in Chengdu, Mianyang, Nanchong, and Luzhou. Other important industries in Sichuan include aerospace and defense (military) industries. A number of China’s rockets (Long March rockets) and satellites have been launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Sichuan’s beautiful landscapes and rich historical relics have also made the province into a major center for tourism.
The Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam ever constructed, is being built on the Yangtze River in nearby Hubei province to control flooding in the Sichuan Basin, neighboring Yunnan province, and downstream. The plan is hailed by some as a Chinese effort to shift towards alternate energy sources and to further develop its industrial and commercial bases but others have criticized it for its potential harmful effects, such as massive resettlement of refugees, loss of archeological sites, and ecological damage.
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