Xining or Sining (both: shēˈnĭngˈ) [key], city (1994 est. pop. 569,800), capital of Qinghai prov., W China, on the Xining River. For centuries it has been the major commercial hub on the caravan route to Tibet, trading in wool, hides, salt, and timber. More recently it has developed as a processing (flour-milling, wool-spinning, meatpacking) and distribution center for the NE Qinghai agricultural basin. Construction of a highway to the mineral-rich Qaidam basin and completion in 1959 of a link to the Chinese rail network via Lanzhou in Gansu prov. has spurred industrial development. Manufactures include iron and steel, chemicals, machinery, and textiles. Coal is mined in the area. Xining was the extraterritorial capital of the Koko Nor territory and remained in Gansu until 1928, when it became the capital of the newly formed Qinghai prov. The name sometimes appears as Hsi-ning.