• Railways have helped improve various businesses across China.

Railways have helped improve various businesses across China. (Photo : Reuters)

"Ten years ago, I was wearing clothes with patches and was nervous talking to strangers. I never imagined that I would have such a good life."

This is what Losang, a 29-year-old Tibetan who grew up being a herdswoman, remarked as she thanked the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, whose construction has helped the business of the company she currently works for, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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"It's all thanks to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It helped the business of the company I work for and gave me a chance to see the world," said Losang, now a manager at Tibet 5100 Water Resources, a high-end mineral water manufacturer.

The water plant opened back in 2005, but due to limited transportation, the business did not do well. But when the 1,956-kilometer railway opened in July 2006, the transportation of the firm's products to the market became much easier.

As the business continued to boom, the company went on to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2011.

"The railway has allowed the factory to grow faster . . . My life wouldn't have changed without it," Losang further said.

"We now can bottle more than 500,000 tonnes of water each year, and we sell the products to inland cities through the rail route," Jiang Xiaohong, the plant director, said.

Luo Qiong, Tsongkar village's party secretary, recounted that "in the past, most people in [the area] lived in mud huts, with no running water or electricity. Villagers had been herdsmen since time immemorial and they were making less than 1,000 yuan ($150) a year."

Losang was one of the many local herdsmen from the village that the water plant recruited and trained. After she was hired, the diligent Tibetan learned how to speak Mandarin and use a computer, working her way hard to be promoted as a department manager.

Losang's work has helped her pay for her younger brother's tuition and build her family a new home.

Currently, 90 percent of the plant's 300 employees are Tibetan.