LHASA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Tibet's economy posted a 17-percentgrowth in the first three months of this year, the highest growth in the last ten years, the region's chief statistician said on Wednesday.
"Tibet's gross domestic product (GDP) grew to 6.4 billion yuan (820 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2007, up from a growth rate of 11.3 percent for the same period in 2006," said Jinme Doje, director of the regional statistics bureau.
Jinme attributed the fast economic growth to the rapid increase in the region's fixed-asset investment, consumption volume, government expenditure, and the Qinghai-Tibet railway which began operation last July.
The region reported a fixed-assets investment of 698 million yuan (90 million U.S. dollars) and a consumption volume of 2.6 billion yuan (333 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2007, up 38.7 percent and 19.2 percent respectively.
"We expect a sustained fast growth rate in the second quarter of this year, but the region's growth rate in the latter half of the year may not be as huge due to the rapid growth rate in the latter six months of 2006," Jinme said.
Tibet has reported five consecutive years of GDP growth of more than 12 percent but remains one of China's most underdeveloped regions due to its harsh natural conditions and its heavy reliance on investment, said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of Tibet in March this year.