Yunnan Economy & Society Overview

Yunnan is still one of the less-developed areas in China in terms of its overall economic power, due to its mountainous terrain and bad communications with the outside world. However, great progress has been made in the past decades of years.

Yunnan depends on agriculture. According to statistics, 87% of the inhabitants in Yunnan live in the countryside, and more than 80% of the government tax comes from the farmers. With the rich flora resources, Yunnan has become one of the main producers of tobacco, sugar, fresh flowers, and rubber in China.

The development of industry in Yunnan has been in a low level. Agriculture-related Industries, such as Tobacco processing and production of cigarettes are the backbones of Yunnan's industry. Many cigarette brands are well-known both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, nonferrous metal refining is also an important part of the industry. Yunnan has a rich deposit of copper, tin, lead, and zinc. Water resources and coal deposit are also abundant, which pushes ahead the development of electricity-generating industry. In 1912, the first hydropower plant of China was built in Yunnan.

In recent years, tourist industry has become a highlight in the economic development of Yunnan. The local governments at different levels attached great importance to tourism. Now more and more people get to know Yunnan and come to visit. Especially, since Yunnan held the World Horticultural Exposition in 1999, tourism has been growing at an unprecedented fast pace.

Yunnan's development of education lags behind the average level of China. Though the nine-year compulsory schooling program has been carried out decades of years ago, it has not progressed smoothly in many poor parts of Yunnan.

In terms of cultural field, Yunnan, however, is well-known for its distinctive and various forms. Local operas, folk songs, music, and dances are all popular around the province. Meanwhile, many troupes were set up, which enriched local people's lives and helped visitors have a better understanding of Yunnan.