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About Yunnan
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Brief Introduction to Yunnan Province

Yunnan Province is the most southwest region of China bordering the countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Burma. Yunnan Province borders Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Region to the east, Chongqing and Sichuan to the north, and Tibet Autonomous Region to the northwest. Yunnan encompasses 394,000 square kilometers (152,084 square miles) and has a population of more than 42 million people.


Within these borders, Yunnan has a diverse topography that ranges from alpine mountain ranges to tropical rainforests and the greatest number of plant species in China (more than 18,000) as well as an incredible array of animals, including the Asian elephant and the protected Yunnan golden monkey. There is even a rainforest in the area known as Xishuangbanna where you will find many rare and endangered species of plants and animals.

Location and Size

Situated in Southwestern China, Yunnan Province covers a total area of 394,000 square kilometers, accounting for 4.1% of China's total land territory and ranking the 8th in China. Respectively bordering Myanmar in the west and Laos and Viet Nam in the south, Yunnan shares a boundary line of 4060 km with them. 

Population and Nationalities

The population in Yunnan is 43 million, of which the 25 ethnic nationalities take up over 14 million. Of all the ethnic group, the Yi nationality enjoys the largest population, 4.47million. Other ethnic groups with a population respectively exceeding 1 million include the Bai Hani, Zhuang and Dai. 

Natural Landscape

As a plateau and mountainous province, Yunnan belongs to the southward extension part of Qing-Zang Plateau. With an average elevation of around 2000m, Yunnan enjoys huge elevation differences. The highest point is 6740m, the Kawagebo Peak, the main peak of Meili Snow Mountain in northwestern Yunnan, while the lowest point is only 76.4m, the confluence between Nanxi River and Yuanjiang River in Hekou County which borders Viet Nam. With over 600 rivers and streams of different sizes in its territory, Yuannan has comparatively developed water systems. The number of major rivers is 180, who are mainly the upper reaches of rivers emptying into seas. They respectively belong to the 6 river systems of the Ayiyawadi River, Nujiang River, Lancang River (Mekong), Jinshajiang River, Red River and Pearl River. 


With exceptionally rich climatic resources, Yunnan belongs to the climatic type of sub-tropical plateau monsoon. "Four seasons can be found along the same mountain slope and different weather conditions can be witnessed over a short distance of 10 li." Is the vivid description of vertical and diversified climate in Yunnan. The average temperature in summer is 19-22 degrees centigrade.  

Natural Resources

Yunnan is the province with the richest variety of plants in China. Of the 30,000 odd species of higher plants in China, over 17,000 are found in Yunnan, accounting for 62.9% of China¡¯s total. Thus, Yunnan has always been dubbed as the Kingdom of Plants, Hometown of Spices, Natural Garden, and Treasure house of Medicinal Herbs. With 1737 species of vertebrate being found here, accounting for 58.9% of China's total, Yunnan is a rare Gene Bank of Wild Animal Species. Some wild animals can only be found in Yunnan. 46 species are listed as first-class animals under State protection while 154 are listed as second-class animals under State protection. Yunnan is rich in mineral resources and has always been dubbed as the Kingdom of Non-ferrous Metals. In addition to non-ferrous metals, chemical engineering, energy, black metals and nonmetallic minerals for building materials enjoy significant positions in China. Precious metal resources also have favorable prospects. 142 kinds of minerals have been found in Yunnan while the reserves of 92 minerals have already been proved and 274 places have mineral reserves. 

Tourism Resources

The special geological and climatic conditions, numerous ethnic groups and long history and splendid culture have created the the exceptionally rich tourism resources in Yunnan. The whole province enjoys 11 state-level tour routes, 57 state and provincial scenic areas, 22 states and provincial forest parks, 5 nature reserves, 9 state and provincial famous cities of history and culture and 187 relics units under key protection. A batch of tourism development zones have been preliminarily formed, which are featured with mountain gorges, modern glaciers, plateau lakes, stone forest, karst caves, volcanoes and geothermal phenomena, primitive forest, tropical rain forest, flowers, relics and historic sites, traditional gardening and ethnic folklores etc. 

Economic and Social Development

Due to the restrictions of transport and geological conditions, Yunnan, a mountainous and frontier province, is an under-developed region in China. Of the 128 counties (cities, districts) in Yunnan, 76 are state- level impoverished ones. In recent years, the economic power in Yunnan has been remarkably strengthened and the construction pace has been accelerated. The GDP of the whole province reached 245.88 billion yuan in 2003, an increase of 8.6%over the previous year, of which the primary industry increased 5%, the secondary industry 10.4% and the tertiary industry 8.6%.


The average disposal income for urban residents was 7,643.6 yuan in 2003, an increase of 5.6%, while the average net income for rural residents was 1,697 yuan, a growth of 5%. Constant increase was maintained for people's consumption of housing, cars, computers, tourism and non-compulsory education. In addition, new achievements were made in the development of social undertakings including science and technology, education, public health, social security and re-employment etc.