Xining, an ancient plateau city with a long history of more than 2,100 years, situates in the northeast of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and it is the dividing line of both Loess Plateau and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the boundary of agricultural and nomadic areas, and the blending area of Chinese and Tibetan cultures. Xining has been the southern Silk Road and the compulsory road for Ancient Tang-Tibet Road, and played a significant role in the transportation and military in northwest China since ancient times, and it was anciently called Peaceful West Prefecture, and Qingtang City, deriving from the meaning of Peaceful West Frontier. Xining, famous for its strategically significant role in connecting with Tibet and Xinjiang, was also known as Significant Military Town for West Sea, and Strategic Gateway from Qinghai to Tibet. As early as the Western Han Dynasty, Xiping pavilion was locally established for the use of military and postal service, and it was changed to Xining Prefecture in the 3rd year of Chongning Period of the Northern Song Dynasty. In the year 1929, Xining was changed into a county, and then upgraded to the city, the capital of Qinghai Province in the year 1946. Xining, with its jurisdiction over three counties, including Datong Hui & Tu Autonomous County, Huangzhong and Huangyuan counties, and four districts, such as Eastern, Central, Western, and Northern districts, as well as Xining (National Level) Economic and Technological Development Zone and four industrial parks, covers a total area of 7,660 km2, including urban area of 476.5 km2, and planned built-up area of 118 km2, and the whole city has a permanent population of 2.33 million, totaling 48 nationalities, including Han, Tibetan, Hui, Mongolian, Manchu, Tu, and Salar, etc. among which the population of ethnic minorities is approximately 600,000, making up 26 % of the total population, and accounting for 70.02 % of the urbanization. The local altitude is 2,295.2 meters (subject to the data from measuring point of Ershilipu in Northern District of Xining). Xining is honored as the World’s Cool City and Summer Resort in China for its continental plateau semi-arid climate without severe cold in winter and hot in summer.
Xining, with higher ratios of primacy and concentration, and contribution degrees, is the capital city of Qinghai Province, in which 90 % of the scientific research institutions, 83 % of the colleges and universities, and all Three-Grade-A hospitals gather, serving as the important base for public services across the whole province, with its only 1 % of the land populating 40 % of the provincial population and 54 % of the urban population, which contributed 48.5 % of provincial GRP and 66.9 % of the total retail sales of consumer goods, and have become the important growth pole of socio-economic development across the whole province.
By the end of 2017, a total of 64 national and international airlines have been available at the Xining Airport, meanwhile both Qinghai-Tibet Railway and High-speed Rail from Xining to Lanzhou have been put into operation, the railway from Xining to Chengdu has been ready for construction, and the central European block train from Xining to Antwerp has been operational. Many national highways and expressways affiliating with the national important road system have been intersected in Xining, where the three-dimensional transportation network linking the east and west, and extending the south and north has made Xining a significant junction to connect the Silk Road Economic Belt in western China and the Yangtze River Economic Zone. Xining has successively established the relationships of International Friendship City with 33 cities of countries along the Belt and Road. Xining has been gradually turning into an important node city along the Silk Road in China and a bridgehead opening up to the west.
In the year 2017, the GRP of the whole city reached RMB 128.49 billion, increasing by 9.5 %; RMB 160.03 billion of the fixed investments, increasing by 14.3 %; RMB 56.79 billion yuan of total retail sales of consumer goods, increasing by 9.3 %; RMB 30043 yuan of per capita disposable income of urban permanent resident, increasing by 9.1 %; RMB 10548 yuan of per capita net income of rural permanent resident, increasing by 9 %; and RMB 7.916 billion yuan of local public financial budget, increasing by 18.2 % of the same caliber.