CHENGDU — The Tibetan-Qiang autonomous prefecture of Aba, Sichuan province, announced on Dec 25 that Barkam county, the prefecture’s seat, would be reclassified as a city.
The change was approved by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, last month.
Barkam, which covers 6,639 square kilometers, is the political, cultural and financial center of Aba and home to 17 ethnic groups including Tibetans, Qiang and Hui. Tibetans account for more than 75 percent of the population.
China has prerequisites involving GDP, non-agricultural industry and population for a county to become a city.
Barkam’s GDP has exceeded 2.2 billion yuan (around $350 million) this year, which is close to twice that of 2010. More than 900,000 tourists have visited Barkam in 2015, generating revenue of 836 million yuan.
Barkam can now expect to receive more investment in infrastructure, education and medical services.
As part of the urbanization drive, China has redesignated several counties as cities, including those in Tibetan regions like Shangri-La of Southwest China’s Yunnan province and Kangding in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garze, Sichuan.