Regional reports

Yunnan: 70 years on

Updated: Nov 8, 2019 Print
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Editor’s Note:

Starting in May, the State Council Information Office has been organizing news conferences for each province, autonomous region and municipality to give briefings about their social and economic development since the founding of New China 70 years ago.

Chen Hao (center), secretary of the CPC Yunnan Provincial Committee, and Ruan Chengfa (right), governor of the Yunnan Provincial People's Government, brief reporters on the province’s social and economic development during the Yunnan session August 12 in Beijing. [Photo/]

Economic Growth

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, Yunnan’s economic development has maintained good momentum. The economic aggregate rose from 24th to 20th in the country in 2018, reaching nearly 1.8 trillion yuan ($257 billion). Fiscal revenue amounted to over 370 billion yuan, 1,988 times more than that in 1952. In the first half of 2019, the province's regional GDP grew by 9.2 percent, ranking first in the nation.

In recent years, Yunnan has been adhering to five industrial development orientations: open, innovative, high-end, informatization and green. It has accelerated transformation and upgrading of traditional industries while cultivating emerging industries, forming eight pillar industries (electric power, tobacco, cultural tourism, modern agriculture, advanced manufacturing, electronic information, bio-medicine and comprehensive health, and modern service) and three distinctive industries (green energy, green food and healthy lifestyle destinations).

People’s Livelihoods

From 2013 to 2018, Yunnan lifted 7.07 million people out of poverty. The poverty rate in the area fell from 21.7 percent to 5.39 percent. The number of poor people in ethnic areas dropped to 865,000 from 4.26 million. The tribes of the Derung, Jino and De’ang ethnic groups have shaken off poverty.

People's living standards have continued to improve over the decades. The per capita disposable income of urban residents has increased from 117.6 yuan in 1950 to 33,500 yuan in 2018, a 283.7-fold increase, while the per capita disposable income of rural residents has risen from 47.5 yuan in 1952 to 10,800 yuan in 2018, up by a factor of 225.7.

County-level compulsory education has achieved balanced development. The social endowment insurance system for urban and rural residents has realized full coverage. The medical service level has been comprehensively improved, and clinics in administrative villages have all lived up to the new standards.

Ecological Protection

From 2012 to 2018, the province’s forest coverage rate has jumped from 50.03 percent  to 60.3 percent. The ratio of good air quality days above the prefecture level in 2018 has remained above 98 percent. The water quality of the nine plateau lakes has witnessed significant improvement. The water quality of Fuxian Lake and Lugu Lake has stayed first class and Dianchi Lake’s water quality has improved to Class IV, the best level in the past three decades.

Yunnan has been continuously promoting the demonstration construction of ecological civilization, establishing 166 nature reserves, 18 national wetland parks, 13 national parks, and 39 national key ecological function areas. More than 90 percent of the typical ecosystems in the province and over 85 percent of the key protected wild animal and plant species are effectively conserved.


Yunnan province has deepened exchanges and cooperation with the Yangtze River Delta, the Pan-Pearl River Delta region, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Meanwhile, it has carried out all-round and multi-field cooperation with neighboring countries and made remarkable progress in building itself into China's open front to South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Yunnan is an active participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It has concluded friendly relations with 11 countries and 33 cities in South and Southeast Asia, established 11 bilateral or multilateral local cooperation mechanisms with nine countries, built 18 open cooperation function areas and key open platforms such as the China-South Asia Expo, and opened cross-border renminbi businesses with 90 countries and regions. Since 2015, Yunnan has introduced 3.8 trillion yuan of funds from outside the province.

Southwest China’s Yunnan (literally South of the Clouds) has a name as beautiful as the land itself. Its rugged hills and whitewater streams are home to a wide range of plants and animals. The place is also an important gateway to South and Southeast Asia, and a vital hub in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. [Photo/VCG]

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