The present paper is only a first intermediary report; its findings should be considered as mere hypotheses which will be confirmed or rejected by further research. Still, a clear picture emerges from the data collected during two field trips and in the historical literature: with a little knowhow transfer and capital investment, we can do a lot to help Tibetan entrepreneurs to develop their businesses in retail trade and tourism.
A thorough knowledge of the Chinese development model, of its institutional framework and of the Tibetan society is vital to make sure that these projects can succeed. As always when working in the context of a national minority, success should be measured not only according to commercial criteria, but also in terms of preservation of the local language and culture. The best way to achieve this is to find ongoing changes which are considered positive by the local people. The emergence of Tibetan entrepreneurs is a good example of such a process which deserves our support.
Obviously, such a project can only be carried out with financial and knowhow support from many partners. Therefore, the present paper is not only the description of a research project, but also an appeal to all the people and institutions active in one of the fields involved to contribute actively to its success.
Hills around Langmusi in the sunset.