Since the 1950s, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) has had a key role to settle and safeguard the Xinjiang region in north-western China. The XPCC continues to be an important vehicle for governing and stabilising Xinjiang, the multiethnic frontier area, mainly through the development of agriculture and industry. However, the XPCC—an organisation with a military structure that is also a hybrid form of enterprise and bureaucracy—faces many financial and political difficulties. This article draws on first-hand observations both to identify factors that contribute to the XPCC's difficulties and to offer recommendations for the XPCC's future. To sustain its governance role, the XPCC should reinforce cooperation and interaction with the local government and the minority population through initiatives such as co-building and co-running cities, and offering social services to the wider population.