A worker uses a spinning wheel to produce silk in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, in November. [Wei Hai/Xinhua]
Manufacturers are expected to create 100,000 jobs this year
The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has become the most popular destination for investors in the textile industry, a regional trade official said.
The official said the region plans to attract more labor-intensive businesses with preferential policies to create job opportunities for locals.
"An average of two new textile factories were set up in Xinjiang every day last year. We expect to see more this year," said Yin Xiaodong, director of the regional textile industry management office.
With preferential policies, including lower raw cotton prices, cheaper electricity rates and transportation subsidies, every metric ton of cotton yarn produced in Xinjiang can save manufacturers 3,600 yuan ($520) compared with eastern China where the textile industry traditionally flourished, Yin said.
The autonomous region now has more than 1,800 textile factories.
Investment in the region's textile industry reached 47.9 billion yuan last year, an increase of 51 percent compared with 2015, according to data released on Monday by the regional statistics bureau.
A total of 112,300 workers were recruited to the region's textile sector last year, accounting for more than 50 percent of new industrial jobs.
The region expects textile manufacturers to create 100,000 more jobs this year, accounting for one-quarter of all new jobs, according to Yin.
In 2014, the central government began providing support for the textile and garment industry in Xinjiang, which produces about 60 percent of China's raw cotton, in the hope of boosting employment opportunities for locals.
Yin estimates that investment in the industry in the past three years has exceeded 90 billion yuan, equivalent to the total investment between 1978 and 2013.
Three of the five planned textile industrial centers are in southern Xinjiang, a key battleground in China's fight against terrorism. The regional government has said unemployment and poverty are key factors that drive young people to become involved in terrorist activities.
Most of the cotton yarn produced in the region is transported to eastern China, the country's traditional textile center, to be processed into cloth and clothes before it is exported by sea.