landscape photography of mountains

Yunnan is a political subdivision of China, positioned in the extreme southwestern region of the nation. The area it covers measures about 394,000 square kilometers. According to data from 2009, it is inhabited by approximately 45.7 million people. Kunming serves as the provincial capital. Yunnan shares its borders with three countries: Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Geographically speaking, Yunnan features a diverse topography, characterized by elevated terrains in the northwest and flatter, low-lying regions in the southeast. A majority of the population resides in the province’s eastern sections.

Geographical Aspects

Yunnan’s geography is largely mountainous, a feature that significantly influences both its climate and its social aspects. The province is part of the larger Yunnan Plateau, which includes mountain ranges, deep valleys, and beautiful lakes. Several major rivers also flow through Yunnan, including the Mekong, Yangtze, and Salween rivers.

Geographical FactorDescription
Area394,000 square kilometers
TopographyMountainous with high elevations in the northwest and low elevations in the southeast
Major RiversMekong, Yangtze, Salween
ClimateVaried, sub-tropical in the south and temperate in the north


The 2009 census data indicates that Yunnan has a population of 45.7 million people. The province is home to several ethnic groups and is considered one of China’s most ethnically diverse regions. The Han Chinese form the majority, but there are also substantial communities of Yi, Bai, Hani, and several other ethnic minorities.

Demographic FactorDescription
Population45.7 million (as of 2009)
Ethnic CompositionHan Chinese, Yi, Bai, Hani, among others
Population DensityVaries, higher in the eastern regions

Political Aspects

Yunnan is one of the 34 provincial-level administrative divisions of China. Kunming, its capital, is not just an administrative center but also an important economic and cultural hub for the province and the broader region.

Political FactorDescription
Administrative DivisionOne of 34 provincial-level divisions in China

International Borders

Yunnan’s strategic location is underscored by its international borders with Myanmar to the west, Laos to the south, and Vietnam to the southeast. These borders are not just political lines but also conduits for trade, cultural exchange, and sometimes, geopolitical tension.

International BordersCountries


Yunnan is rich in natural resources, including minerals and arable land. It is also known for its biodiversity and has several nature reserves and national parks. Tourism is a significant part of the economy, and so is agriculture, with crops like tea, tobacco, and coffee being produced.

Economic FactorDescription
GDPData not available
Main IndustriesTourism, agriculture, mining
Natural ResourcesMinerals, arable land, biodiversity


To summarize, Yunnan is a geographically diverse and ethnically rich province in the extreme southwest of China. Covering an area of 394,000 square kilometers, it is home to approximately 45.7 million people as per the 2009 data. The province’s capital is Kunming, and it shares international borders with Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Most of the population is concentrated in the eastern part of the province. Yunnan’s economy is multi-faceted, with tourism and agriculture playing significant roles. It is a region where natural beauty meets cultural diversity, making it a unique part of China’s national fabric.

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