URUMQI, May 20 (Xinhua) -- From farmer to supervisor at a garment factory, Atu Tursun, like many other rural residents in southern Xinjiang, lives a better life thanks to an improving employment environment.
The former farmer from Shache County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, entered the local factory as a sewing worker three years ago. She is ambitious about her career planning with her promotion to warehouse supervisor.
"I leave the farmwork to my mother-in-law and am pursuing higher education to strive for more important working positions," she said.
Atu Tursun is the epitome of rural women in southern Xinjiang who are no longer confined to housework and choose to work at factories for better lives.
Home to more than 10 million people, southern Xinjiang features an arid climate with a per capita cultivated land of about 0.14 hectares. The surplus rural labor force there had once counted several millions of people.
In recent years, many labor-intensive industries have provided jobs for locals to improve their lives.
"I never thought I could get a job right here in my village before," said Anwarnisahan Do, a villager in Lop County. Over 1,500 rural factories have been built in recent years in southern Xinjiang thanks to investment promotion and policy support.
"It takes me only 15 minutes to get to work every day," said Zulpiya Imin, a villager in Korla City. The 30-year-old woman leased her orchard with poor earnings and chose to work at a local garment factory. "I am satisfied with this job because it pays me well," she said.
Buwaatikam Kasim shares the same feelings. "I earn nearly 4,000 yuan (about 592.8 U.S. dollars) each month, which is more than my husband's salary," said the woman who works at a wig factory. Now the factory has 400 ethnic-minority workers who are all from nearby villages and townships.
Xinjiang had more than 7,500 labor-intensive enterprises by the end of 2021. The region's textile and garment industry alone provided work opportunities for over 500,000 people.
As a next step, southern Xinjiang is upgrading its industries to offer higher-level jobs for locals.
"We will invite more enterprises in the electronics industry, cross-border e-commerce, and other industries in the future," said Qu Liandong, an official with the economic and technological development zone of Kashgar.
The development zone will invest 6 billion yuan in its infrastructure this year. It will also create 30,000 jobs.
"We are continuing to improve public facilities to create a better work environment for locals, especially young people," Qu added.