After Accession to the WTO
Two important events have occurred in China. One was the decision of the Chinese central government to implement a development strategy for western China beginning in mid-1999. The second major event occurred when China joined the World Trade Organization on December 11, 2001. Western China's geographic area comprises more than 66 percent of the country, but its population, only 311.3 million, is only about 24.7 percent of the country's total. The gross domestic product per capita for western China, including twelve provinces and numerous autonomous regions, was only RMB5,853.00. Most members of China's fifty-five minority groups live and work in western China. In spite of the challenges of the area, potential abounds in its many special natural and anthropological resources. A great deal of successful foreign direct investment has occurred in western China since China's economic system began to reform and open to trade.