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Yunnan Province
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese云南省 (Yúnnán Shěng)
  AbbreviationYN / (Diān) or (Yún)
Yunnan in China (+all claims hatched).svg
Map showing the location of Yunnan Province
Coordinates: 25°03′N101°52′E / 25.050°N 101.867°E / 25.050; 101.867 Coordinates: 25°03′N101°52′E / 25.050°N 101.867°E / 25.050; 101.867
(and largest city)
Divisions16 prefectures, 129 counties, 1565 townships
  Type Province
  Body Yunnan Provincial People's Congress
   CCP Secretary Wang Ning
   Congress chairman Ruan Chengfa
   Governor Wang Yubo
   CPPCC chairman Li Jiang
  Total394,000 km2 (152,000 sq mi)
Area rank 8th
Highest elevation6,740 m (22,110 ft)
 (2020) [2]
  Rank 12th
  Density120/km2 (310/sq mi)
  Density rank 24th
  Ethnic composition
  Languages and dialects Southwestern Mandarin
25 ethnic minority languages
ISO 3166 code CN-YN
GDP (2020) CNY 2.45 trillion
$ 355 billion (18th) [3]
 - per capita CNY 51,943
USD 7,528 (26th)
 • growthIncrease2.svg 4.0%
HDI (2019)Increase2.svg 0.691 [4]
medium · 27th
  1. 1 2 Dongchuan is a satellite urban area separated from Kunming and it is not included in the urban area & district area count.
  2. 1 2 New districts established after census: Chenggong (Chenggong County), Jinning (Jinning County). These new districts not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  3. 1 2 New districts established after census: Zhanyi (Zhanyi County), Malong (Malong County). These new districts not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  4. 1 2 New district established after census: Jiangchuan (Jiangchuan County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  5. Wenshan County is currently known as Wenshan CLC after census.
  6. Mile County is currently known as Mile CLC after census.
  7. Mengzi County is currently known as Mengzi CLC after census.
  8. Tengchong County is currently known as Tengchong CLC after census.
  9. Formerly known as Luxi CLC until 20 July 2010.
  10. Shangri-La County is currently known as Shangri-La CLC after census.
  11. Lushui County is currently known as Lushui CLC after census.
  12. Shuifu County is currently known as Shuifu CLC after census.


Statue of Mao Zedong in Lijiang 2002Nian Yun Nan Li Jiang Hong Tai Yang Yan Chang  - panoramio.jpg
Statue of Mao Zedong in Lijiang

Secretaries of the CPC Yunnan Committee: The Secretary of the CPC is the highest ranking and most important position in Yunnan. [63]

  1. Song Renqiong (宋任穷): 1950–1952
  2. Xie Fuzhi (谢富治): July 1952 – August 1959
  3. Yan Hongyan (阎红彦): August 1959 – January 1967
  4. Zhou Xing (周兴): June 1971 – October 1975
  5. Jia Qiyun (贾启允): October 1975 – February 1977
  6. An Pingsheng (安平生): February 1977 – July 1985
  7. Pu Chaozhu (普朝柱): July 1985 – June 1995
  8. Gao Yan (高严): June 1995 – August 1997
  9. Linghu An (令狐安): August 1997 – October 2001
  10. Bai Enpei (白恩培): October 2001 – August 2011 [63]
  11. Qin Guangrong (秦光荣): August 2011 – October 2014
  12. Li Jiheng (李纪恒): October 2014 – August 2016
  13. Chen Hao (陈豪): August 2016 – November 2020

Governors of Yunnan: The Governor is the second highest office in Yunnan, after the Secretary of the CPC Yunnan Committee. [63] The Governor, who is elected by the Yunnan Provincial People's Congress, is responsible for all economic, environmental, political, personnel and foreign affairs issues concerning Yunnan. [63]

  1. Chen Geng (陈赓): March 1950 – February 1955
  2. Guo Yingqiu (郭影秋): February 1955 – November 1958
  3. Ding Yichuan (丁一川): November 1958 – January 1965
  4. Zhou Xing (周兴): January 1965 – 1966
  5. Tan Furen (谭甫仁): August 1968 – October 1970
  6. Zhou Xing: October 1970 – October 1975
  7. Jia Qiyun (贾启允): October 1975 – February 1977
  8. An Pingsheng (安平生): February 1977 – December 1979
  9. Liu Minghui (刘明辉): December 1979 – April 1983
  10. Pu Chaozhu (普朝柱): April 1983 – August 1985
  11. He Zhiqiang (和志强): August 1985 – January 1998
  12. Li Jiating (李嘉廷): January 1998 – June 2001
  13. Xu Rongkai (徐荣凯): June 2001 – November 2006
  14. Qin Guangrong (秦光荣): January 2007 – August 2011 [63]
  15. Li Jiheng (李纪恒): August 2011 – October 2014
  16. Chen Hao (陈豪): October 2014 – December 2016


Yunnan (Chinese characters).svg
"Yunnan" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Historical population
1912 [64] 9,468,000    
1928 [65] 13,821,000+46.0%
1936-37 [66] 12,042,000−12.9%
1947 [67] 9,066,000−24.7%
1954 [68] 17,472,737+92.7%
1964 [69] 20,509,525+17.4%
1982 [70] 32,553,817+58.7%
1990 [71] 36,972,610+13.6%
2000 [72] 42,360,089+14.6%
2010 [73] 45,966,239+8.5%
2020 [74] 47,209,277+2.7%

According to statistics from Yunan government, there are approximately 2.5 million overseas Chinese whose ancestral homeland is Yunan province.


Major Autonomous areas within Yunnan. (excluding Hui) Ethnic minorities areas in Yunnan.png
Major Autonomous areas within Yunnan. (excluding Hui)

Yunnan is noted for a very high level of ethnic diversity. [75] It has the highest number of ethnic groups among the provinces and autonomous regions in China. Among the country's 56 recognised ethnic groups, twenty-five are found in Yunnan. Some 38% of the province population are members of ethnic minorities, including the Yi, Bai, Hani, Tai, Dai, Miao, Lisu, Hui, Lahu, Wa, Nakhi, Yao, Tibetans, Jingpo, Blang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Jinuo, Mongols, Derung, Manchus, Sui, and Buyei. Several other groups are represented, but they live neither in compact settlements nor do they reach the required threshold of five thousand to be awarded the official status of being present in the province. Some groups, such as the Mosuo, who are officially recognised as part of the Naxi, have in the past claimed official status as a national minority, and are now recognised with the status of Mosuo people.

Ethnic groups are widely distributed in the province. Some twenty-five minorities live in compact communities, each of which has a population of more than five thousand. Ten ethnic minorities living in border areas and river valleys include the Hui, Manchus, Bai, Naxi, Mongols, Zhuang, Dai, Achang, Buyei and Shui, with a combined population of 4.5 million; those in low mountainous areas are the Hani, Yao, Lahu, Va, Jingpo, Blang and Jino, with a combined population of 5 million; and those in high mountainous areas are Miao, Lisu, Tibetan, Pumi and Drung, with a total population of four million.


CIA map showing the territory of the settlement of ethnolinguistic groups in Yunnan Province (1971). Ethnolinguistic groups in Yunnan Province (1971).jpg
CIA map showing the territory of the settlement of ethnolinguistic groups in Yunnan Province (1971).

Most dialects of the Chinese language spoken in Yunnan belong to the southwestern subdivision of the Mandarin group, and are therefore very similar to the dialects of neighbouring Sichuan and Guizhou provinces. Notable features found in many Yunnan dialects include the partial or complete loss of distinction between finals /n/ and /ŋ/, as well as the lack of /y/. In addition to the local dialects, most people also speak Standard Chinese ( Putonghua , commonly called "Mandarin"), which is used in the media, by the government, and as the language of instruction in education.

Yunnan's ethnic diversity is reflected in its linguistic diversity. Languages spoken in Yunnan include Tibeto-Burman languages such as Bai, Yi, Tibetan, Hani, Jingpo, Lisu, Lahu, Naxi; Tai languages like Zhuang, Bouyei, Dong, Shui, Tai Lü and Tai Nüa; as well as Hmong–Mien languages.

The Naxi, in particular, use the Dongba script, which is the only pictographic writing system in use in the world today. The Dongba script was mainly used to provide the Dongba priests with instructions on how to carry out their rituals: today the Dongba script features more as a tourist attraction. Perhaps the best known Western Dongba scholar was Joseph Rock.


By the end of 1998, among the province's population, 419,800 had received college education or above, 2.11 million, senior middle school education, 8.3 million, junior middle school education, 18.25 million, primary school education, and 8.25 million aged 15 or above, illiterate or semi-literate.


Religion in Yunnan (2005) [76]

   Chinese religions, ethnic minorities' folk religions, or not religious (91.3%)
   Buddhism (6%)
   Islam (1.4%)
   Christianity (1.3%)

According to a demographic analysis of religions in Yunnan, as of 2005 the province has around 4 million believers of the five government-sanctioned organised religious doctrines of China, almost 90% of them belonging to the ethnic minorities. [76] Of these:

According to surveys conducted in 2004 and 2007, in those years approximately 32.22% of the province's population was involved in worship of ancestors and 2.75% declared a Christian identity. [77]

Most of the population of the province practices traditional indigenous religions including the Chinese folk religion among the Han Chinese, Bimoism among the Yi peoples and Benzhuism among the Bai people. The Dai people are one of the few ethnic minorities of China that traditionally follow the Theravada branch of Buddhism, making Yunnan the only province in China where all 3 major Buddhist shools are widely practiced. Most of the Hui people of the region are Muslims. Christianity is dominant among the Lisu, the Jingpo and the Derung ethnic groups. [76]


View of Duoyishu sunrise in Yuanyang 1 yuanyang rice terrace duoyishu sunrise 2012.jpg
View of Duoyishu sunrise in Yuanyang

The region maintains a strong agricultural focus. Agriculture is restricted to the few upland plains, open valleys, and terraced hillsides. Level land for agriculture is extremely scarce and only about 5 percent of the province is under cultivation. Rice is the main crop; corn, barley, wheat, rapeseed, sweet potatoes, soybeans (as a food crop), tea, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton are also grown. On the steep slopes in the west livestock is raised and timber, a valuable resource, is cut (teak in the southwest).

Yunnan produces most of coffee grown in China (although there are also much smaller plantations in Fujian and Hainan. Large-scale coffee cultivation started in Yunnan in 1988. The most commonly grown variety in the province is catimor. [78]

Tobacco is the main (export) product and makes up a big part of the provincial GDP. [79] Furthermore, Yunnan has a strong competitive potential in the fruit and vegetable industries, especially in low value-added commodities such as fresh and dried vegetables and fresh apples.

Strawberry fields near Yuxi Hongta District - Beicheng - strawberry fields - P1350756.JPG
Strawberry fields near Yuxi

Yunnan is one of the regions in the world with the most abundant resources of wild edible mushrooms. In China, there are 938 kinds of edible mushrooms, and over 800 varieties can be found in Yunnan. In 2004, around 7,744 tons of wild edible mushrooms were exported, making up for 70% of the total export of this product in China. The so-called 'pine mushroom' is the main product in Yunnan and is exported to Japan in large quantities.

Due to China's growing consumption of dairy products, Yunnan's dairy industry is also developing very rapidly and is also aiming to export to its ASEAN neighbors.

The flower industry in Yunnan province started to develop towards the end of the 1980s. Yunnan province accounts for 50% of China's total cut flower production. The size of the planting area for cut flowers in Yunnan province amounts to 4000 hectares. In 2003, the output totaled 2.3 billion stems. In 2002 the flower industry in Yunnan had a total output of RMB 3.4 billion. Export amounted to US$18 million. Apart from sales on the domestic market, Yunnan also exports to a number of foreign countries and regions such as Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. [ citation needed ]


As of the mid-19th century, Yunnan exported birds, brass, tin, gemstones, musk, nuts, and peacock feathers mainly to stores in Guangzhou. They imported silk, wool, and cotton cloth, tobacco and books. [80]

Local traders in Lijiang City Lijiang, Yunnan, China.jpg
Local traders in Lijiang City
Aerial view of Downtown Kunming Aerial view of Downtown Kunming.jpg
Aerial view of Downtown Kunming

Yunnan is one of China's relatively undeveloped provinces with more poverty-stricken counties than the other provinces. In 1994, about 7 million people lived below the poverty line of less than an annual average income of 300 yuan per capita. They were distributed in the province's 73 counties mainly and financially supported by the central government. With an input of 3.15 billion yuan in 2002, the absolutely poor rural population in the province has been reduced from 4.05 million in 2000 to 2.86 million. The poverty alleviation plan includes five large projects aimed at improving infrastructure facilities. They involve planned attempts at soil improvement, water conservation, electric power, roads, and "green belt" building. Upon the completion of the projects, the province hopes this will alleviate the shortages of grain, water, electric power and roads.

Yunnan lags behind the east coast of China in relation to socio-economic development. However, because of its geographic location the province has comparative advantages in regional and border trade with Southeast Asian countries. The Lancang River (upper reaches of Mekong River) is the waterway to southeast Asia. In recent years land transportation has been improved to strengthen economic and trade co-operation among countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Yunnan's abundance in resources determines that the province's pillar industries are: agriculture, tobacco, mining, hydro-electric power, and tourism. In general, the province still depends on the natural resources. The secondary sector is currently the largest industrial tier in Yunnan, contributing more than 45 percent of GDP. The tertiary sector contributes 40 percent and agriculture 15 percent. Investment is the key driver of Yunnan's economic growth, especially in construction.

The main challenge that Yunnan faces is its lack of major development. Its low productivity and competitiveness restrict the rapid development of the province. The province also faces great challenges in social issues such as environmental protection, poverty elimination, illegal migration, drug trafficking and HIV/AIDS.

Yunnan's four pillar industries include tobacco, agriculture/biology, mining, and tourism. The main manufacturing industries are iron and steel production and copper-smelting, commercial vehicles, chemicals, fertilizers, textiles, and optical instruments. [79] Yunnan has trade contacts with more than seventy countries and regions in the world. Yunnan established the Muse border trade zone (located in Ruili) along its border with Burma. [81] Yunnan mainly exports tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment, chemical and agricultural products, and non-ferrous metals. In 2008, its total two-way trade (imports and exports) reached US$9.6 billion. The province signed foreign direct investment contracts involving US$1.69 billion, of which US$777 million were actually utilized during the year. Yunnan's unemployment rate at the end of 2008 was 4.21%.

Yunnan's nominal GDP in 2011 was 875.1 billion yuan (US$138.92 billion), an annual growth rate of 13.7%. Its per capita GDP was 13,494 yuan (US$1,975). The share of GDP of Yunnan's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were 17.9%, 43%, and 39.1% respectively.

Yunnan is one of the major production bases of copper, lead, zinc, tin and aluminum in China. Gejiu is well known as "the Kingdom of Zinc" with the reserves ranked first in the country. The Yunxi brand refined tin is one of the main products in Gejiu, which is registered on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Besides, reserves of germanium, indium, zirconium, platinum, rock salt, sylvite, nickel, phosphate, mirabilite, arsenic and blue asbestos are also high. Significant copper deposits are found at Dongchuan, iron ore at Wuding, and coal at Xuanwei and Kaiyuan. Economic policy to locate new industry in interior areas with substantial mineral wealth, led to major industrial development in Yunnan, especially in the Kunming area.

The electricity industry is another important economic pillar of Yunnan, which plays a key role in the "West-East Electricity Transmission Project". The electricity produced in Yunnan is mainly transported to Guangdong.

Economic and Technological Development Zones

First established in 1992, Kunming Economic & Technology Development Zone is a national-level zone approved by the State Council. Kunming is located in east-central Yunnan province with preferential location. After several years' development, the zone has formed its pillar industries, which include tobacco processing, machinery manufacturing, electronic information, and biotechnology. [82]

The Kunming High-tech Industrial Development Zone (KMHNZ), is a state-level high-tech industrial zone established in 1992 in Northwest Kunming. It is administratively under Kunming Prefecture. It has covers an area of 9 km2 (3.5 sq mi). KMHNZ is located in the northwest part of Kunming city, 4 kilometers from Kunming Railway Station, 5 kilometers from Kunming International Airport. [83]

Ruili Border Economic Cooperation Zone (RLBECZ) is a Chinese State Council-approved Industrial Park based in Ruili, Dehong Prefecture, founded in 1992 and was established to promote trade between China and Burma. The area's import and export trade include the processing industry, local agriculture and biological resources are very promising. Sino-Burmese business is growing fast. Burma is now one of Yunnan's biggest foreign trade partners. In 1999, Sino-Burmese trade accounted for 77.4% of Yunnan's foreign trade. In the same year, exports for electromechanical equipments came up to US$55.28 million. Main exports here include fiber cloth, cotton yarn, ceresin wax, mechanical equipments, fruits, rice seeds, fiber yarn and tobacco. [84]

Wanding Border Economic Cooperation Zone (WTBECZ) is a Chinese State Council-approved Industrial Park based in Wanding Town, Ruili, Dehong, founded in 1992 and was established to promote trade between China and Burma. The zone spans 6 km2 (2.3 sq mi) and is focuses on developing trading, processing, agriculture resources and tourism. [85]

Qujing Economic and Technological Development Zone (QETDZ) is a provincial development zone approved by Yunnan Provincial Government in August 1992. It is located in the east of urban Qujing, the second largest city in Yunnan in terms of economic strengths. The location of the development zone is the economic, political and cultural center of Qujing. As an agency under Qujing municipal Party committee and municipal government, the administrative commission of QETDZ functions as an economy supervising body at the prefecture level and an administration body at the county level. It has 106 km2 (41 sq mi) under its jurisdiction. It shoulders the task of building a new 40-square-kilometer city area and providing service for a population of 400,000 in the upcoming 10 years. [86]

Chuxiong Economic Development Zone is an important zone in Yunnan. Now the zone has attracted a number of investment projects. It is an important industry for the development of new-type industry platform. The zone covers an area of 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi), composed of four parks. [87]

First established in 1992, Hekou Border Economic Cooperation Zone is a border zone approved by State Council to promote Sino-Vietnamese trade. It has a planned area of 4.02 km2 (1.55 sq mi). The zone implemented several policies to serve its clients in China from various industries and sectors including investment, trade, finance, taxation, immigration, etc. [88]


Since the 1960s, improvements have been achieved in the overall educational level, which can be seen in the increase in average years of regular education received. The development of part-time schools have brought adult, distance and continuing education to farms, factories, offices, and other places. Evening, time off work / study leave classes allow people to receive education without leaving their jobs. Policies to upgrade adult education have begun to complement the campaign against illiteracy. A basic Chinese vocabulary in simplified strokes is taught to millions of illiterate people in short, intensive courses. Despite progress made, Yunnan's illiteracy rate remains one of the highest in China mainly due to insufficient education among minority peoples. [89] [90]

In higher education, Yunnan has one "National Key University"—Yunnan University in Kunming. There is also a growing number of technical schools, among which the most prominent are the Yunnan Normal University, the Southwest Forestry University, Yunnan Agricultural University, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Kunming Medical University, Yunnan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Kunming University of Science and Technology. Other notable establishments of learning are the Kunming branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory, and the Yunnan Provincial Library. As of 2000, there were 24 institutions of higher learning in Yunnan, with an enrollment of over 90,400 students and a faculty of 9,237; 2,562 secondary schools with an enrollment of more than 2,137,400 students and 120,461 teachers; and 22,151 primary schools with an enrollment of 4,720,600 pupils and a faculty of 210,507. The gross enrollment rate of school-age children was 99.02%.

See also: List of universities and colleges in Yunnan


Yunnan Province is responsible for about 50% of officially reported malaria cases in China. [91]

It is presently considered to be the main source of plague in China. [92]




Viaduct of the Dali-Lijiang Railway near Dali Dali Lijiang Railway in Dali.jpg
Viaduct of the Dali–Lijiang Railway near Dali

The first railway in Yunnan was the narrow gauge Yunnan–Vietnam Railway built by France from 1904 to 1910 to connect Kunming with Vietnam, then a French colony. In Yunnan, the Chinese section of this railway is known as the Yunnan-Hekou Railway and the line gave Yunnan access to the seaport at Haiphong. During the Second World War, Britain and the United States began building a railway from Yunnan to Burma but abandoned the effort due to Japanese advance.

Due in part to difficult terrain both locally and in surrounding provinces and the shortage of capital for rail construction, Yunnan remained outside of China's domestic rail network until 1966 when the Guiyang–Kunming Railway was completed. The line would not enter into operation until 1970, the same year that the Chengdu-Kunming was completed. The Nanning–Kunming Railway to Guangxi was completed in 1997, followed by the Neijiang–Kunming Railway in 2001. The Panxi Railway, originally built in 1975 to draw coal from neighboring Guizhou, was electrified in 2001 and adds to eastern Yunnan's outbound rail transport capacity.

Kunming-Yuxi railway in Haikou Town, Kunming Kunming - Haikou Town - Kunyu Railway - P1350369.JPG
Kunming–Yuxi railway in Haikou Town, Kunming

Within the province, the Kunming–Yuxi, opened in 1993, and the Guangtong–Dali, opened in 1998, expanded the rail network to southern and western Yunnan, respectively. The Dali–Lijiang Railway, opened in 2010, brought rail service to northwestern Yunnan. That line is planned to be extended further north to Xamgyi'nyilha County.

The province is extending the railway network to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. From Yuxi, the Yuxi–Mengzi Railway, built from 2005 to 2013, and the Mengzi–Hekou Railway, under construction since 2008, will form a standard gauge railway connection with Vietnam. The Dali–Ruili Railway, under construction since May 2011, will bring rail service to the border with Myanmar. Also under planning is a rail line from Yuxi to Mohan, in Xishuangbana Prefecture, on the border with Laos. This line could be extended further south to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Burma Road

The Burma Road was a highway extending about 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) through mountainous terrain from Lashio, northeast Burma northeastward to Kunming, China. Undertaken by the Chinese after the start of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and completed in 1938, it was a vital transportation route for wartime supplies to the Chinese government from Rangoon and shipped by railroad to Lashio from 1938 to 1946. An extension runs east through China from Kunming, then north to Chongqing. This traffic increased in importance to China after the Japanese took effective control of the Chinese coast and of Indochina. It was seized by the Japanese in 1942 and reopened when it was connected to the Stilwell Road from India. The Ledo Road (later called the Stilwell Road) from Ledo, India, into Burma was begun in December 1942. In 1944 the Ledo Road reached Myitkyina and was joined to the Burma Road. Both roads have lost their former importance and are in a state of disrepair. The Burma Road's importance diminished after World War II, but it has remained a link in a 3,400-km road system from Yangon, Burma, to Chongqing.


Road construction in Yunnan continues unabated: over the last years the province has added more new roads than any other province.[ citation needed ] Today expressways link Kunming through Dali to Baoshan, Kunming to Mojiang (on the way to Jinghong), Kunming to Qujing, Kunming to Shilin (Stone Forest). The official plan is to connect all major towns and neighbouring capitals with expressways by 2010, and to complete a high-speed road network by 2020.

Roadway in Lijiang with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance. Yulong Xueshan 04.JPG
Roadway in Lijiang with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.

All county towns are now accessible by paved, all-weather roads from Kunming, all townships have a road connection (the last to be connected was Yangla, in the far north, but Dulongjiang remains cut off for about six months every year), and about half of all villages have road access.

Second-level national highways stretch 958 km (595 mi), third-level highways, 7,571 km (4,704 mi) and fourth-level highways, 52,248 km (32,465 mi). The province has formed a network of communication lines radiating from Kunming to Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and Guangxi and Tibet autonomous regions, and further on to Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

China National Highway 320 in Longling County Zhen An Zhen Dao Lu 02.jpg
China National Highway 320 in Longling County

National highways running through Yunnan province are:


After the opening of the Suolongsi to Pingyuanjie section, Luofu expressway, the first between Yunnan and Guangxi Province, opened in October 2007. It has made material and passenger transportation between the two provinces much more convenient. Moreover, Luofu Expressway has also become the main road from Yunnan to Guangxi and the coastal ports. Luofu Expressway begins from the crossroads of Luo Village between Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces and ends at Funing County of Wenshan State. The total length of the expressway is 79.3 kilometers which has shortened the commute between Yunnan and Guangxi from the previous 3 and half hours to just 50 minutes.

Expressways running through Yunnan province are:


Yangzi River Yangzi River - by Peter Morgan.jpg
Yangzi River

Generally, rivers are obstacles to transport in Yunnan. Only very small parts of Yunnan's river systems are navigable. However, China is constructing a series of dams on the Mekong to develop it as a waterway and source of power; the first was completed at Manwan in 1993.

In 1995, the province put an investment of 171 million yuan to add another 807 km (501 mi) of navigation lines. It built two wharfs with an annual handling capacity of 300,000 to 400,000 tons each and four wharfs with an annual handling capacity of 100,000 tons each. The annual volume of goods transported was two million tons and that of passengers transported, two million.


Dali Airport Dali Airport 07.JPG
Dali Airport
Ninglang Luguhu Airport Zhu Lang Lu Gu Hu Ji Chang 20190928190809.jpg
Ninglang Luguhu Airport

The province has twenty domestic air routes from Kunming to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Haikou, Chongqing, Shenyang, Harbin, Wuhan, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Nanning, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Changsha, Guilin, Lhasa and Hong Kong; eleven provincial air routes from Kunming to Jinghong, Mangshi, Lincang, Tengchong, Lijiang, Dali, Xamgyi'nyilha, Zhaotong, Baoshan, Simao, and Ninglang Luguhu; and ten international air routes from Kunming to Bangkok, Kolkata, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Singapore, Seoul, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and Vientiane.

Replacing Kunming Wujiaba International Airport is Kunming Changshui International Airport, which opened June 28, 2012. [93]


Bridge-building in Yunnan date back at least 1,300 years when the Tibetan Empire built an iron chain bridge over the Yangtze to the neighboring Nanzhao Kingdom at what is today Weixi Lisu Autonomous County during the Tang dynasty. Iron chain bridges are still found across high river valleys of Yunnan. The Jinlong Bridge on the Jinsha River in Lijiang remains the oldest bridge over the Yangtze. With the expansion of the highway and railway network in Yunnan, numerous large-scale bridges have been built across the region's myriad of rivers, including the Yangtze which has dozens of crossings in Yunnan.


Kunming is the only city in Yunnan that has a metro system. As of August 2021, it has 5 lines in operation.


Hand-painted Chinese New Year's poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's homes, Old Town, Lijiang. Chinese New Year's poetry.jpg
Hand-painted Chinese New Year's poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's homes, Old Town, Lijiang.

Yunnan's cultural life is one of remarkable diversity. Archaeological findings have unearthed sacred burial structures holding elegant bronzes in Jinning, south of Kunming. In northeastern Yunnan, frescoes of the Jin dynasty (266–420) have been discovered in the city of Zhatong. Many Chinese cultural relics have been discovered in later periods. The lineage of tribal way of life of the indigenous peoples persisted uninfluenced by modernity until the mid-20th century. Tribal traditions, such as Yi slaveholding and Wa headhunting, have since been abolished. After the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), in which several minority cultural and religious practices were suppressed, Yunnan has come to celebrate its cultural diversity and subsequently many local customs and festivals have flourished. [94]

Eighteen Oddities of Yunnan



Yunnan has several different tea growing regions. [95] One of Yunnan's best known products is Pu-erh tea (or Puer), named after the old tea trading town of Pu-erh (Puer). The province is also known for its Yunnan Gold and other Dianhong teas, developed in the 20th century.


Chinese medicine

Yunnan is host to 15,000 species of plants, including 60 percent of the plants used in traditional Chinese medicine.[ citation needed ]


Rice-terraced mountains of Yuanyang county 1 yuanyang rice terrace laohuzhui 2012.jpg
Rice-terraced mountains of Yuanyang county
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery in Shangri-La City 1 songzanlin 2018a.jpg
Ganden Sumtseling Monastery in Shangri-La City
Old Town of Lijiang Gu Cheng Xiao Qiao Liu Shui  - panoramio.jpg
Old Town of Lijiang
Baishui River with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in background 1 yulong xueshan yak 2012.jpg
Baishui River with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in background

Yunnan Province, due to its landscapes, mild climate and cultural diversity, is one of China's major tourist destinations. Most visitors are Chinese tourists, although trips to Yunnan are organized by an increasing number of foreign travel agencies as well. Mainland tourists travel by the masses; 2.75 million Chinese visited Yunnan last October during National Holiday. Also a different trend is slowly developing; small scale and environmentally friendly ecotourism. At the moment projects in this field are often being set up with help of NGO's.

In 2004, tourism revenues amounted to 37 billion RMB, and thus accounting for 12.6% of the provincial GDP. Another fact indicating the importance of tourism in Yunnan Province is capital Kunming hosting the China International Travel Mart every two years. This tourism trade fair is the largest of its kind in Asia and serves as an important platform for professionals in the sector. More than 80 countries and regions were present during the 2005 edition.

Tourism is expected to grow further. In 2010, the province welcomed over 2.3 million overseas tourists and the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Bureau aims to draw 4.3 million overseas arrivals under the 12th Five-Year Tourism Development Plan. Kunming city is expected to add 11 new mid- to high-end hotels with an inventory of under 4,000 rooms between 2012 and 2016. [96]

The Nature Conservancy and the Chinese government came together to form a partnership and explore the possibility of bringing adventure tourism onto the rivers of Southwest China. A two-month white-water expedition explored from the Mekong River's Moon Gorge to Yangze River's Great Bend. The expedition provided valuable information to the partnership, encouraging them to take into account the safety, culture, economics, and conservation of the Yunnan Province. Creating an adventure tourism sector would bring valuable economic resources to the economically struggling population, who had once relied on logging as income prior to it being banned due to deforestation.

Tourist centres in Yunnan include:

Places of interest

The Gucheng Mosque of Yunnan Gucheng.JPG
The Gucheng Mosque of Yunnan


Professional sporting teams in Yunnan have included the now defunct Yunnan Bulls in the Chinese Basketball Association and Yunnan Hongta in the Chinese Jia-A League. The Yunnan Lijiang Dongba football team currently competes in China League Two.


  1. This is a common interpretation of "Yunnan", but the original etymology is uncertain.

Related Research Articles

Guizhou Province of southwestern China

Guizhou is a landlocked province in the southwest region of the People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Guiyang, in the center of the province. Guizhou borders the autonomous region of Guangxi to the south, Yunnan to the west, Sichuan to the northwest, the municipality of Chongqing to the north, and Hunan to the east. The population of Guizhou stands at 38.5 million, ranking 18th among the provinces in China.

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Lijiang, also known as Likiang, is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of Yunnan Province, China. It has an area of 21,219 square kilometres (8,193 sq mi) and had a population of 1,244,769 at the 2010 census whom 211,151 lived in the built-up area (metro) made up of Gucheng District. Lijiang is famous for its UNESCO Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang, which contains a mixture of different historical architecture styles and a complex, ancient water-supply system.

Erhai Lake

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Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture Autonomous prefecture in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

The Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture is located in western Yunnan province, People's Republic of China, and is one of the eight autonomous prefectures of the province, bordering Baoshan to the east and Burma's Kachin State to the west.

Zhaotong Prefecture-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

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Qujing Prefecture-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

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Mangshi County-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

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Shilin Yi Autonomous County Autonomous County in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

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G56 Hangzhou–Ruili Expressway

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Further reading