Kunming is the capital and largest city of Yunnan province in southwest China. Known as Yunnan-Fu until the 1920s, today it is a prefecture-level city and the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of the province as well as the seat of the provincial government. Kunming is also called the Spring city due to its weather. The headquarters of many of Yunnan's large businesses are in Kunming. It was important during World War II as a Chinese military center, American air base, and transport terminus for the Burma Road. Located in the middle of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is located at an altitude of 1,900 metres (6,234 feet) above sea level and at a latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer. Kunming has as of 2014 a population of 6,626,000 with an urban population of 4,575,000, and is located at the northern edge of the large Lake Dian, surrounded by temples and lake-and-limestone hill landscapes.
Kunming consists of an old, previously walled city, a modern commercial district, residential and university areas. The city has an astronomical observatory, and its institutions of higher learning include Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University and a medical college. On the outskirts is a famed bronze temple, dating from the Ming dynasty.
Its economic importance derives from its geographical position. Positioned near the border with Southeastern Asian countries, serving as a transportation hub in Southwest China, linking by rail to Vietnam and by road to Burma and Laos. This positioning also makes it an important trade center in this region of the nation. It also houses some manufacturing, chiefly copper, though some other chemicals, machinery, textiles, paper and cement take key. Though having a nearly 2,400 year history, its modern prosperity dates only from 1910, when the railway from Hanoi was built. The city has continued to develop rapidly under China's modernization efforts. Kunming's streets have widened while office buildings and housing projects develop at a fast pace. Kunming has been designated a special tourism center and as such sports a proliferation of high-rises and luxury hotels.
Clockwise from top: Kunming's Skyline, Kunming Railway Station, Dian Lake, and Yuantong Temple
|Nickname(s): City of Eternal Spring
Tuodong City, Yachi Fu, Yunnanfu
Location of Kunming City jurisdiction in Yunnan
Location in China
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Settled||c. 279 BC|
|• Party Secretary||Cheng Lianyuan|
|• Mayor||Wang Xiliang (王喜良)|
|• Prefecture-level city||21,015 km2 (8,114 sq mi)|
|• Urban (2018)||712 km2 (275 sq mi)|
|• Metro||4,615 km2 (1,782 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,892 m (6,207 ft)|
|• Prefecture-level city||6,626,000|
|• Density||320/km2 (820/sq mi)|
|• Urban (2018)||3,895,000|
|• Urban density||5,500/km2 (14,000/sq mi)|
|• Rank in China||16th|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
|ISO 3166 code||CN-YN-01|
|License plate prefixes||云A|
|GDP (PPP) (2014)||$88.631 billion|
|GDP (PPP) per capita (2014)||$13,418|
|City flower||Camellia japonica|
|City tree||Magnolia denudata|
"Kūnmíng" in Chinese characters
|Literal meaning||(transcription of an ancient tribal name)|
Kunming long profited from its position on the caravan roads through to South-East Asia, India and Tibet. Early townships in the southern edge of Lake Dianchi (outside the contemporary city perimeter) can be dated back to 279 BC, although they have been long lost to history. Early settlements in the area around Lake Dian date back to Neolithic times. The Dian Kingdom, whose original language was likely related to Tibeto-Burman languages was also established near the area.
Dian was subjugated by the Chinese Han dynasty under the reign of Emperor Wu of Han in 109 BC. The Han dynasty incorporated the territory of the Dian Kingdom into their Yizhou Commandery, but left the King of Dian as the local ruler.
The Han dynasty (205 BC–AD 220), seeking control over the Southern Silk Road running to Burma and India, brought small parts of Yunnan into China's orbit, though subsequent dynasties could do little to tame what was then a remote and wild borderland. During the Sui dynasty (581–618), two military expeditions were launched against the area, and it was renamed Kunzhou in Chinese sources.
Founded in 765, Kunming was known to the Chinese as Tuodong (拓东) city in the Kingdom of Nanzhao (737–902) during the 8th and 9th centuries. Tuodong later became part of the successor Kingdom of Dali (937–1253). Eventually this changed when Tuodong came under the control of the Yuan dynasty invasion of the southwest in 1252–1253. In 1276 it was founded by the Mongol rulers as Kunming County and became the provincial capital of Yunnan. The city grew as a trading center between the southwest and the rest of China. It is considered by scholars to have been the city of Yachi Fu (Duck Pond Town) where people had used cowries as cash and ate their meat raw, as described by the 13th-century Venetian traveler Marco Polo who traveled to the area and wrote about his fascination with the place.
In the 14th century, Kunming was retaken when the Ming dynasty defeated the Mongols, who built a wall surrounding present-day Kunming. Ming General Wu Sangui defected to Manchu invaders 300 years later and held the city until his death in 1678, long after the rest of China had fallen under Manchu rule. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, it was the seat of the superior prefecture of Yunnan.
The area was first dubbed Kunming in the period towards the decline of the Yuan dynasty and later still in 1832, the beginnings of a real city were acknowledged within the city walls and significant structures within their confines. Founding of the city can, therefore be said to have been a predominantly 19th century affair. It was also in this century that the city grew to become the major market and transport centre for the region. Many of the city's inhabitants were displaced as a result of the 1833 Kunming earthquake.
Kunming suffered at the hands of rebel leader Du Wenxiu, the Sultan of Dali, who attacked and besieged the city several times between 1858 and 1868. Little of the city's wealth survived the 1856 Panthay Rebellion, when most of the Buddhist sites in the capital were razed. Decades later, Kunming began to be influenced by the West, especially from the French Empire. In the 1890s, an uprising against working conditions on the Kunming–Haiphong rail line saw many laborers executed after France shipped in weapons to suppress the revolt. The meter-gauge rail line, only completed by around 1911, was designed by the French so that they could tap Yunnan's mineral resources for their colonies in Indochina.
Kunming was a communications center in early times and a junction of two major trading routes, one westward via Dali and Tengchong County into Myanmar, the other southward through Mengzi County to the Red River in Indochina. Eastward, a difficult mountain route led to Guiyang in Guizhou province and thence to Hunan province. To the northeast was a well-established trade trail to Yibin in Sichuan province on the Yangtze River. But these trails were all extremely difficult, passable only by mule trains or pack-carrying porters.
"In the late 1800s, the French started to build the Kunming-Haiphong railway for trade and shipping of weapons".
Kunming reverted to county status in 1912, under the name Kunming, and became a municipality in 1935. The opening of the Kunming area began in earnest with the completion in 1906–1910 of the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway to Haiphong in north Vietnam (part of French Indochina).
Kunming became a treaty port opening to foreign trade in 1908 and soon became a commercial center.
A university was set up in 1922. In the 1930s the first highways were built, linking Kunming with Chongqing in Sichuan and Guiyang in Guizhou to the east. Kunming was transformed into a modern city as a result of the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 when the invading Japanese forces caused a great number of east-coast Chinese refugees, some of whom were wealthy, to flood into the southwest of China. They brought with them dismantled industrial plants, which were then re-erected beyond the range of Japanese bombers. In addition, a number of universities and institutes of higher education were evacuated there. The increased money and expertise quickly established Kunming as an industrial and manufacturing base for the wartime government in Chongqing.
As China's military forces and civilians retreated outside the reach of the Japanese military forces a year prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, Kunming became a new training hub for the battered but regrouped Chinese Air Force in which Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault took command of cadet training duties in the summer of 1938. During the Second World War the city of Kunming was prepared as a National Redoubt in case the temporary capital in Chongqing fell, an elaborate system of underground caves to serve as offices, barracks and factories was prepared but never utilised. Kunming was to have served again in this role during the ensuing Chinese Civil War, but the Nationalist garrison switched sides and joined the Communists. Instead Taiwan would become the last redoubt and home of the Chinese Nationalist government, a role it fulfills to this day.
When the Japanese occupied French Indochina in 1940, the links between Kunming and the west grew increasingly vital as Allied forces provided essential support by importing materials from Burma. By this time, Kunming acted as an Allied military command center, which grouped the Chinese, American, British and French forces together for operations in Southeast Asia. The Office of Strategic Services' Service Unit Detachment 101 (predecessor to the 1st Special Forces Group) was also headquartered in Kunming and whose mission was to divert and disrupt Japanese combat operations in Burma.
Later in the war, Kunming was targeted by the Imperial Japanese Air Force during its bombing campaigns, and when the Burma Road was lost to the Japanese, the American Volunteer Group, known as the "Flying Tigers", used Kunming as a base in 1941 and 1942 to fly in supplies over the Himalayas from British bases in India in defiance of Japanese assaults. They also were tasked with defending China's lifeline to the outside world, the Burma Road and the Ledo Road, which had Kunming as a northern terminus.
Industry became important in Kunming during World War II. The large state-owned Central Machine Works was transferred there from Hunan, while the manufacture of electrical products, copper, cement, steel, paper, and textiles expanded.
Until 1952, Kunming was a walled city. The city government in 1952 ordered hundreds of young people to tear down the wall and use its bricks to make a new road running north-south. To show its appreciation for the young people that demolished the east wall, the city government named the new street after them. Their existence still echoes today in place names like Xiao Ximen (小西门, 'Lesser west gate') and Beimen Jie (北门街, 'North gate Street'). There are also less obvious connections to the wall, such as Qingnian Lu (青年路, 'Youth Road'), which was once Kunming's east wall.
After 1949, Kunming developed rapidly into an industrial metropolis with the construction of large iron and steel and chemical complexes, along with Chongqing, Chengdu and Guiyang in the southwest. A Minorities' Institute was set up in the 1950s to promote mutual understanding and access to university education among Yunnan's multiethnic population. The city consolidated its position as a supply depot during the Vietnam War and subsequent border clashes. Until Mao Zedong's death, Kunming was still generally thought in much of the rest of the country as a remote frontier settlement and so it acted as a place up to then for the government to exile people who had fallen politically out of favor, especially during the Cultural Revolution.
In 1957, Kunming's rail link to Hanoi was re-opened (after being cut during World War II). It was cut again in 1979.
Since the economic reforms of the mid-1980s, Kunming has enjoyed increased tourism and foreign investment, for instance investors from Thailand trace their ancestries back to Yunnan. Several Thai Chinese banks have offices in Kunming, for example, Kasikorn Bank and Krung Thai Bank. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand has visited Kunming many times to study Chinese culture and promote friendly relations.
Rail link to Vietnam re-opened again in 1996.
In July 2005, the second Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit was held in Kunming, with government leaders from China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam participating. There, China agreed to lend its neighbors more than $1 billion for a series of projects. China was then promoting GMS cooperation as a first step toward building an eventual China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.
Infrastructure improvements have been underway to improve links between Kunming and Southeast Asia in time for the 2010 China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. The FTA is expected to make Kunming a trade and financial center for Southeast Asia. In addition to physical improvements to enhance Kunming's trade with Southeast Asia, the central and provincial governments have made financial preparations to assist the city's emergence. At the end of 2004, the central government approved Kunming to be one of the 18 mainland cities in which foreign banks could conduct business in renminbi.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the city center was rebuilt, with Swiss help, in its current 'modern' style to impress visitors attending the 1999 World Horticultural Exposition. It was primarily during 1997 and 1998 that much of the city's roads, bridges and high rises were built.
The World Horticultural Expo was widely regarded as a public relations success for Kunming. Today the after-effects of the Expo are apparent in more than just the physical improvements to the city—it was the Expo that made the outside world take notice of Kunming, which was relatively unknown at the time.
Kunming is located in east-central Yunnan province. It is located between north latitude 24°23' and 26°22' N, and east longitude 102°10' and 103°40' E, with a total area of 21,600 square kilometres (8,340 square miles). Its widest stretch from the east to the west amounts to 140 kilometres (87 miles) and its largest expansion from the north to the south amounts to 220 kilometres (137 miles).
Situated in a fertile lake basin on the northern shore of the Lake Dian and surrounded by mountains to the north, west, and east, Kunming has always played a pivotal role in the communications of southwestern China. Lake Dian, titled as "the Pearl of the Plateau", is the sixth largest fresh water lake in China, is the largest lake in Yunnan and has an area of approximately 340 square kilometres (130 square miles). Kunming's highest point is Mazong Ridge of the Jiaozi Mountain in Luquan with an elevation of 4,247 metres (13,934 feet), and its lowest point is the joint of the Xiao River and the Jinsha River in Dongchuan District, with an elevation of 695 metres (2,280 feet). Its downtown area is 1,891 metres (6,204 feet) above sea level.
About 96 km (60 mi) southeast of the city centre is the Stone Forest in Shilin County, a karst formation developed as a tourist attraction consisting of rock caves, arches, and pavilions. It is part of the larger karst-based landscape of the area.
Located at an elevation of 1,890 metres (6,200 feet) on the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau with low latitude and high elevation, Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China, characterised by short, cool dry winters with mild days and crisp nights, and long, warm and humid summers, but much cooler than the lowlands. The weather never gets very hot in summer; the temperature has exceeded 30 °C (86 °F) only on a handful of occasions. However, freak snowfalls occur in occasional winters. Controlled by a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb), the monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from 8.9 °C (48.0 °F) in January to 20.3 °C (68.5 °F) in June, with daily high temperatures reaching their lowest point and peak in December and May, respectively. With its perpetual spring-like weather which provides the ideal climate for plants and flowers, Kunming is known as the "City of Eternal Spring". The city is covered with blossoms and lush vegetation all-year round. The period from May to October is the rainy season and the rest of the year is dry. The city has an annual mean temperature of 15.52 °C (59.9 °F), rainfall of 979 millimetres (38.5 in) (nearly three-fifths occurring from June to August) and a frost-free period of 230 days. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 30% in July to 69 percent in February and March, the city receives 2,198 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extreme temperatures in the city have ranged from −7.8 to 31.3 °C (18 to 88 °F).
|Climate data for Kunming (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||23.3
|Average high °C (°F)||15.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||8.9
|Average low °C (°F)||3.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||15.8
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||4.4||4.6||5.5||6.8||12.2||17.4||20.3||19.3||15.8||13.0||7.3||3.8||130.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||66||60||56||56||66||77||81||80||79||79||75||72||71|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||224.5||219.6||255.4||244.8||212.2||135.0||124.3||144.9||123.5||143.7||169.8||200.0||2,197.7|
|Percent possible sunshine||68||69||69||64||52||33||30||36||34||40||52||61||50|
|Source #1: China Meteorological Data Service Center|
|Source #2: China Meteorological Administration(precipitation days, sunshine hours 1971–2000)|
Mineral resources include phosphorus, salt, magnesium, titanium, coal, quartz sand, clay, silica, copper. Phosphorus and salt mines are the most plentiful. Kunyang Phosphorus Mine is one of the three major phosphorus mines in the country. Rock salt reserves are 1.222 billion tonnes (1.203 billion long tons) and mirabilite reserves are 1.908 billion tonnes (1.878 billion long tons). Dongchuan is a major copper production base.
Proven reserves of Coal bed gas is about 500 billion cubic metres (18,000 billion cubic feet), equal to 720 million tonnes (710 million long tons) of standard coal. Geothermal resources are widely distributed.
Kunming has 2,585 hectares (6,390 acres) of lawns, trees and flowers, averaging 4.96 square metres (53.4 square feet) per capita and a green space rate of 21.7 percent. The city's smoke control area is 115 square kilometres (44 square miles) and noise control area 87 square kilometres (34 square miles).
Kunming is a significant horticultural center in China, providing products such as grain, wheat, horsebeans, corn, potato and fruit such as peaches, apples, oranges, grapes and chestnuts. Kunming is world-famous for its flowers and flower-growing exports. More than 400 types of flowers are commonly grown in Kunming. The camellia, Yulan magnolia, azalea, fairy primrose, lily and orchid are known as the six famous flowers of the city.
The camellia was confirmed by the Municipality of Kunming as its city flower in 1983.
The Kunming city government plans to create an environmental trial court to deal with environment-related lawsuits. It is to be part of the city's intermediate people's court and will have jurisdiction over appeals by companies that have been found guilty of violating environmental laws in cities throughout Yunnan.
Of the more than five million people registered as residents in Kunming in 2006, more than four million were Han. The Yi people were the most prominent minority in the city, with more than 400,000 residents. The least-represented ethnic minority in Kunming were the 75 Dulong people living in the city.
Registered ethnic populations of Kunming as of 2006:
The city center has three major squares and five major streets: Jinma Biji Square, Nanping Square and Dongfeng Square along with Nanping Jie, Jinbi Lu, Renmin Lu, Zhengyi Lu and Jingxin Jie. Qingnian Lu, Zhengyi Lu, and Renmin Lu are the main commercial areas in Kunming; the most popular pedestrian streets are Nanping Jie, Jingxing Birds-Flowers' Market, and Jinma Biji Fang.
Kunming's public focus is the huge square outside the now-demolished Workers' Cultural Hall at the Beijing Lu-Dongfeng Lu intersection, where in the mornings there are crowds doing taijiquan and playing badminton. Weekend amateur theatre are also performed in the square. Rapidly being modernized, the city's true center is west of the square across the adjacent Panlong River (now more of a canal), outside the Kunming Department Store at the Nanping Lu/Zhengyi Lu crossroads, a densely crowded shopping precinct packed with clothing and electronics stores. The river is polluted, black and oily. Surrounding the area are plenty of new high-rises.
The center is an area of importance to Kunming's Hui population, with Shuncheng Jie, one of the last old streets in the center of the city, previously forming a Muslim quarter. Until shortly before 2005, this street was full of wind-dried beef and mutton carcasses, pitta bread and raisin sellers, and huge woks of roasting coffee beans being stirred with shovels. Under Kunming's rapid modernisation, however, the street has been demolished to make way for apartments and shopping centers. Rising behind a supermarket one block north off Zhengyi Lu, Nancheng Qingzhen Si is the city's new mosque, its green dome and chevron-patterned minaret visible from afar and built on the site of an earlier Qing edifice.
Running west off Zhengyi Jie just past the mosque, Jingxing Jie leads into one of the more bizarre corners of the city, with Kunming's huge Bird and Flower Market convening daily in the streets connecting it with the northerly, parallel Guanghua Jie. The market offers many plants such as orchids that have been collected and farmed across the province. In the small grounds of Wen Miao, a now vanished Confucian temple off the western end of Changchun Lu, there is an avenue of pines, an ancient pond and pavilion, and beds of bamboo, azaleas and potted palms.
Jinbi Lu runs roughly parallel to and south of Dongfeng Lu, reached from Beijing Lu. Two large Chinese pagodas rise in the vicinity, each a solid thirteen storeys of whitewashed brick crowned with four iron cockerels. The West Pagoda was built between 824 and 859, during the Tang dynasty; its original counterpart, the East Pagoda, was built at the same time, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1833 and rebuilt in the same Tang style in 1882. South down Dongsi Jie, past another mosque, the entrance to the West Pagoda is along a narrow lane on the right. In the tiny surrounding courtyard, sociable idlers while away sunny afternoons playing cards and sipping tea in the peaceful, ramshackle surroundings. The East Pagoda is a more cosmetic, slightly tilted duplicate standing in an ornamental garden a few minutes' walk east on Shulin Jie. The temples associated with both pagodas are closed to the public.
Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park) is one of Kunming's major parks and is predominately a lake surrounded by greenery. Located in the west side of the park is the statue of one of Yunnan's most famous patriots—Nie Er, the composer of China's national anthem. Now it is open to public for free.
Daguan Park lies on Dian Chi in Kunming's southwestern limits. Originally laid out by the Kangxi Emperor in the Qing dynasty, it has been modified over the years to include a noisy funfair, food stalls and emporiums, and is a favourite haunt of Kunming's youth.
Kunming's zoo, founded in 1950, is adjoined to Yuantong Park. The zoo houses 5,000 animals from 140 species and receives 3 million visitors a year.
The "Garden of the World Horticultural Exposition", located in the northern suburbs of Kunming, is six kilometres (3.7 miles) from central Kunming. From 1 May to 31 October 1999, Kunming held the 1999 World Horticulture Exposition, with the theme of "Man and Nature—Marching Toward the 21st Century".
The "Golden Hall Scenic Zone", located on the Mingfeng Hill in the northern suburbs of Kunming, is eight kilometres (5.0 miles) from central Kunming. Constructed in 1602 (the 30th year of the Wanli reign period of the Ming dynasty), all of its beams, pillars, arches, doors, windows, tiles, Buddhist statues, and horizontal inscribed boards are made of copper, weighing more than 200 tons. It is the largest copper building in China.
Notable museums in Kunming:
Yuantong Si is Kunming's major Buddhist temple. It is Kunming's largest and most famous temple with the original structure being first constructed more than 1,200 years ago during the Tang dynasty. The temple sits in a depression on the southern side of Yuantong Park. Northwest about 12 km (7.5 mi) from the city center is the Qiongzhu Si (Bamboo Temple) built in 639 and rebuilt in 1422 to 1428. Numerous Buddhist temples line the road to the Dragon Gate (龙门) in the Western Mountains (西山).
The prefecture-level city of Kunming has jurisdiction over 14 subdivisions; seven districts, one county-level city, three counties and three autonomous counties.
Kunming is bounded by Qujing City to the east, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the southeast and Yuxi City to the southwest, Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture to the west and Zhaotong City to the northeast. Kunming also borders with Panzhihua prefecture level city and Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province.
Kunming plans to add two new districts to its existing four urban districts (Panlong, Wuhua, Guandu, Xishan) over the next few years.
|Name||Simplified Chinese||Hanyu Pinyin||Population
|Panlong District||盘龙区||Pánlóng Qū||809,881||861||2,382.002|
|Wuhua District||五华区||Wǔhuá Qū||855,521||398||2,149.550|
|Guandu District||官渡区||Guāndù Qū||853,371||552||1,545.961|
|Xishan District||西山区||Xīshān Qū||753,813||791||952.987|
|Chenggong District||呈贡区||Chénggòng Qū||310,843||541||574.571|
|Jinning District||晋宁区||Jìnníng Qū||283,784||1,391||204.014|
|Dongchuan District||东川区||Dōngchuān Qū||271,917||1,674||162.435|
|Anning City||安宁市||Ānníng Shì||341,341||1,313||259.970|
|Fumin County||富民县||Fùmín Xiàn||145,554||1,030||141.314|
|Yiliang County||宜良县||Yíliáng Xiàn||419,400||1,880||223.085|
|Songming County||嵩明县||Sōngmíng Xiàn||287,095||920||199.095|
|Shilin Yi Autonomous County||石林彝族自治县||Shílín Yízú Zìzhìxiàn||246,220||1,777||138.559|
|Luquan Yi and Miao Autonomous County||禄劝彝族苗族自治县||Lùquàn Yízú Miáozú Zìzhìxiàn||396,404||4,378||90.544|
|Xundian Hui and Yi Autonomous County||寻甸回族彝族自治县||Xúndiàn Huízú Yízú Zìzhìxiàn||457,068||3,966||115.246|
Within Kunming, the entertainment district has its focus around Kundu Square, with many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants. Food aside, one feature of less formal Yunnanese restaurants is that they often have a communal bamboo water pipe and tobacco for their customers. There are plenty of student bars and clubs. The city has several operatic troupes and indigenous entertainments which include huadeng, a lantern dance. Although indoor performances are lacking, there are often informal shows at the weekend outside the Workers' Cultural Hall and in Cuihu Park. There are similar shows at the Yunnan Arts Theater on Dongfeng Xi Lu. Kunming's main cinema house is on the south side of the Dongfeng Lu/Zhengyi Lu intersection. The other main multiplex, the XJS, at the junction of Wenlin Jie and Dongfeng Xi Lu.
The Kunming dialect is very similar to that of Sichuan and Guizhou but uses the third tone much less than standard Chinese. Many terms are used only in Kunming dialect, such as "板扎" meaning 'terrific'.
Hong Kong China International and Dianchi National Tourist Resort will jointly invest and construct a new television and film base in Kunming. The Kunming TV, Film and New Media Industry Base (昆明影视与新媒体产业基地) or "Dream City" will be built by a joint venture created for the project with an investment of three billion yuan (US$418 million) allocated for the base's first phase, which will cover 3 km2 (1.2 sq mi). The base will feature television and film studios, shooting stages and equipment, state-of-the-art production facilities and video game production, and a film school established by Peking University and Beijing Film Academy. The whole project is expected to be completed by 2013 with a total investment of 17 billion yuan ($2.3 billion).
Kunming attracts domestic and foreign tourists year round. At the center of Yunnan and as its capital, Kunming is also a transport hub for tourists heading to other parts of Yunnan such as Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila.
In 2003, this city was elected among the top 10 best summer resort cities around the world and it was ranked as China's top summer resort city.
Conference and exhibition venues in Kunming include the Kunming International Convention and Exhibition Center and the Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Hall.
Other famous attractions include Stone Forest and Yunnan's Ethnic Village.
Every year, many Chinese and international athletes come to Kunming for high-altitude training. The city has been China's national high-elevation training base for more than 30 years. There are two major training complexes, Hongta Sports Center and Haigeng National Training Center.
Hongta Sports Center was built in 2000 by Hongta (Red Pagoda) cigarette company, at a cost of US$58 million. Located near Haigeng Park, the complex is mostly used by professional athletes, but also acts as a sports club for the general public. Every weekend, it hosts amateur football matches. Aside from about 10 football pitches, including one surrounded by a running track, Hongta also has a 50-metre (160-foot) swimming pool, a badminton gymnasium, tennis courts and a basketball court. It also has one of China's few ice hockey rinks, and a workout room with treadmills and weightlifting machines. There are also game rooms for air hockey; also pool tables and a basement bowling alley. The complex comes complete with a 101-room hotel and restaurant.
Haigeng National Training Center is located ten minutes away from Hongta on Dianchi (Lake Dian) near Kunming's award-winning Lakeview Golf Club and new condominium developments. This complex dates from the late 1970s and was built by the government specifically to specialize in high-altitude training.
Golf is a major attraction in Kunming. There are four golf courses within an hour's drive of downtown. For the last six years, Spring City Golf and Lake Resort in nearby Yiliang County has reigned as the best golf course in China and Hong Kong according to US Golf Digest. In 2004, it was named Asia's best golf resort by Asian Golf Monthly. It hosts the Kunming Leg of the Omega China Tour.
Kunming has attracted foreign investment in golf course development. "Spring City" Golf Resort is a US$600 million project that began as an investment led by Singapore's Keppel Land Group in 1992. Today it is not only ranked by some as China's top golf course, but also one of the top golf destinations in all of Asia. Much of this is attributable to Keppel's financial backing in addition to having golf legend Jack Nicklaus and eminent golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr design the two courses.
Major sports facilities include:
Kunming has three economic advantages over other cities in southwest China: significant natural resources, a large consumer market and a mild climate. Due to its position at the center of Yunnan, one of China's largest producers of agricultural products, minerals and hydroelectricity, Kunming is the main commercial hub for most of the province's resources.
Kunming's chief industries are copper, lead and zinc production. Its iron and steel industry has been expanded. Salt and phosphate mines around Kunming are some of the largest in China. Yunnan Copper Company Limited, based in Kunming, is one of Yunnan's largest mining corporations. From the late 1970s, Kunming's main industries also came to include food and tobacco processing and the manufacture of construction equipment and machines.
In May 1995, the State Council approved Kunming as an Open City. By the end of 1995, the city had approved 929 overseas-funded enterprises with a total investment of $2.3 billion including $1.1 billion of foreign capital. More than 40 projects each had an investment of more than $9 million.
Kunming is a center of engineering and the manufacture of machine tools, electrical machinery, equipment and automobiles (including heavy goods vehicles). It has a chemical industry, and plastics, cement works and textile factories. Its processing plants, which include tanneries, woodworking and papermaking factories, use local agricultural products. In 1997, Yunnan Tire Co. opened a tire plant in Kunming, with a capacity to produce two million tires per year.
Kunming has two major development zones, Kunming High-tech Industrial Development Zone (biological medicine, new materials, electronic information, photoelectron, agriculture) and Kunming Economic and Technology Development Zone (mechanical equipment production, biological science and food industry, information industry, software).
The largest include:
As of 2008, Kunming is home to 65 of the Top 100 Enterprises in Yunnan Province. The top 100 enterprises were based on their revenues for 2007. Hongta Group, with revenues of some RMB39.88 billion for 2007 topped the list. The tobacco sector remains the largest sector in the province.
The China Kunming Import & Export Commodities Fair (known as 'Kunming Fair') is a regional trade fair jointly sponsored by seven local Southeast Asian governments including Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Tibet, Chongqing and Chengdu. Kunming Fair has been successfully held annually for fourteen consecutive years. In addition to a mass of domestic buyers and over 1,000 Chinese exhibitors, each fair has attracted about 4,000 to 6,000 overseas guests from around fifty countries. The accumulated trade and investment contracts signed during the fairs are estimated to be worth about 25 billion US dollars. See also, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the main organizing body.
Yunnan has developed into the largest flower export base in Asia, with many Dutch experts having transferred technology to the area. The Dounan Flower Market, located in suburban Kunming, is the largest in China with daily sales of 2.5 million yuan (US$300,000) from the 2 million sprays of flowers (as of 2006). The provincial government agency, the Yunnan Flower Association, regulates the industry.
Chenggong, 20 minutes drive from central Kunming and already a major source of fresh flowers, has plans to emerge as the "Flower Hub of Asia".
The authorities in Kunming have formulated plans for the development of each district in Chenggong. While Kunming's administrative authorities have already moved to Chenggong, a number of key universities in Yunnan, like Yunnan University and Yunnan Normal University are also relocating to the area. With Chenggong already home to Kunming International Airport and the Kunming International Flora Auction Trading Center Co., Ltd. the county has positioned itself as one of China's main flower producers.
As part of the overall infrastructure network, road links between Kunming and Laos will soon be completed, forming part of a transnational highway that will eventually link Yunnan with Thailand. Projects such as these and the Pan-Asian Railway—a bold project linking Kunming to Singapore via Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, with a total length of 5,600 km (3,500 mi) of rail line, due for completion in the next few years—are likely to turn Kunming into a major logistics hub.
Kunming East Station is at present Yunnan province's only container handling depot, with direct links to only three provinces; Guangdong, Guizhou and Sichuan. It also has direct access to the metropolitan district of Chongqing.
In July 2006, as part of the Kunming Development Plan, construction of a comprehensive intermodal container depot located in Jiaying, Chenggong County, about 20 km (12 mi) from Kunming City, one of 18 new rail container depots planned by the Railway Ministry across the country. The engineering construction program occupies an area of 16,000 ha, with a fixed investment roughly equal to RMB449.5 million (US$55.6 million). The new depot handles 63 million tons annually.
The Jiaying Depot is connected with the new system of highways built linking Yunnan to the increasingly important markets of Southeast Asia, facilitating cheap Chinese exports to the region and granting resource-poor China greater access to the region's massive raw material resources. Yunnan has thereby become a progressively important area in the Southwest's rail logistics both in terms of national and international logistics.
Kunming provides 1,560,000 tons of tapped water a day. Altogether 1,095,000 households are supplied with piped gas for cooking and 1,070,000 families use liquefied gas to cook. The rate of the urban gasification reached 92 percent.
Kunming, because of its remote location, had been an economic backwater for much of the last three decades. That was before rapid growth in China's trade with Southeast Asia and China's domestic tourism industry in addition to Beijing's 'Go West' initiative aimed at increasing domestic and foreign investment in western China.
The strategies for economic development in Yunnan, as designed by the provincial government, can be described in short as the realization of 3 targets and the construction of 5 pillar industries. Yunnan often proudly presents itself as a "green" province with an equally "green" economy. This means importance is attached to the sustainable development of the region's bio-resources as well as the protection of its natural environment. The agricultural sector therefore gets a lot of support in the development of e.g. green or organic food, but also the production of traditional Chinese medicine, cut flowers and bio-chemicals is being encouraged.
Twenty years ago Kunming started a strong partnership with its sister city Zürich, Switzerland to share experiences on sustainable urban development. Today, many sectors are concerned by this cooperation. The so-called "Chinagarten" (Chinese garden) is a remiscence for Zürich's technical and scientific assistance in the development of the Kunming city drinking water supply and drainage. See also: Water supply and sanitation in the People's Republic of China.
The technical cooperation between Kunming and Zürich started with a cooperation project in the field of drinking water supply. Later other sectors such as "old town protection", "sewage and waste water treatment", "city planning", "urban and regional transport planning" were added in the co-operation list.
The Kunming Project is located on a naturally vegetated site adjacent to the International Horticultural Expo, on the north-eastern fringes of Kunming City. The project comprises four prototype houses and a 2,000 m2 (21,528 sq ft) visitor centre on a five hectare site. In 2006 the project was completed and is the first "intelligent & green" project in mainland China. Expo INTEGER Kunming is the first eco-town in southern China, with an emphasis on sustainable lifestyle, environmental protection and intelligent technology. The project aims to provide a focal point for the improvement of housing standards and building technology in the context of China. It will develop a sustainable housing and lifestyle model appropriate for the urbanization of the western region in China.
In July 2008, Kunming began to implement a program to transform the city's solar energy industry into a US$8.8 billion industrial base in China by 2013. Kunming receives an annual average sunshine of more than 2,400 hours. Each 1 kW PV system has the potential to generate 1500 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year from solar energy.
The government plans to put in place policies (low-interest loans, tax exemption and other concessions or subsidies) and a fund to encourage private sector participation in the city's solar energy-based infrastructure development. The fund, which will be included in the municipal government's annual budget, will particularly finance LED for public lighting, solar photovoltaic projects, and the propagation of energy saving projects.
As of 2007, the Kunming Economic Committee listed about 130 solar energy enterprises in the city. Of these, 118 enterprises produce solar lamps and solar water heaters, with a combined total production value of about US$43.8 million, and 10 enterprises are engaged in solar photovoltaic cells manufacturing, with a total production value of about US$51.2 million.
Suntech Power announced in December 2008 that it is jointly constructing a solar energy project with Yunnan Provincial Power Investment and other investors. The 1MW first-phase of the Shilin 66MW on-grid solar power station in Kunming began generating power on 28 December 2009. The initial phase of the 66MW project was originally scheduled to start production in first half of 2010 while the 20MW second phase and 36 MW third phase are under construction.
Kunming is situated on the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Rail and air are the main two methods to travel to or from Kunming from outside Yunnan.
Kunming has air connections with several Chinese and Southeast Asian cities. Kunming is served by Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG), which opened at 08:00 on 28 June 2012, replacing the older international airport, which was located 4–5 km (2.5–3.1 mi) southeast of central Kunming. Changshui is projected to be China's fourth largest airport and one of the world's top 80 airports. The new airport is expected to greatly increase the city's access to countries in SE Asia and S Asia. The airport is being constructed by Yunnan Airport Group.
The airport construction is part of the larger Kunming Air Hub City. The Air Hub City is planned to have about 200,000 residents. Most of its industries will be related to transport: logistics, aircraft maintenance, aviation education and technology, travel-related services, hospitality, and tourism.
The now defunct Yunnan Airlines was headquartered in Kunming until it was acquired by China Eastern Airlines. China Southwest Airlines used to operate routes to and from Kunming, until it was merged with Air China.
Kunming is the main rail hub of Yunnan province. The Chengdu–Kunming Railway from Sichuan, Shanghai–Kunming Railway from Guizhou, and Nanning–Kunming Railway from Guangxi converge in Kunming from the north, northeast and east. The Yunnan–Vietnam Railway runs from Kunming southeast to Hekou and Lao Cai on the Sino-Vietnamese border and then on to Haiphong The Kunming–Yuxi Railway runs south to Yuxi, where a second rail line to Vietnam is being planned and built. To the west of Kunming, the Guangtong–Dali Railway extends off the Chengdu–Kunming Line to Dali (Xiaguan Town).
Kunming has three major railway stations:
As of 2017, railway development projects continue to proceed in the Kunming metropolitan area. In February 2017, the railway authorities announced that a connector between the new Kunming South Railway Station and the old Kunming Railway Station (also known as the Nanyao Station 南窑火车站) will open by the end of 2017, making it possible for some high-speed train to serve Kunming Railway Station as well.
In May 2010, Kunming began construction on its first urban rail lines, line 1 and 2 of the Kunming Rail Transit. An elevated test section had been under construction since 2009. Parts of lines 1 and 2 opened in April 2014. Construction on line 3 began in August 2010 and is expected to be completed in 2016. The entire system consisting of 6 lines and covering a total of 162 kilometres (101 miles) is estimated to be complete by 2018.
Completed but under trial high-speed railways:
Construction is underway for the following high-speed railways:
Study or planning is being done for the following railways:
Yunnan has built a comprehensive highway system with roads reaching almost all the major cities or towns in the region. Bus travel across the region is extensive. Buses head from Kunming to destinations such as Dali and Lijiang several times a day.
There are four major long-distance bus stations in Kunming with the South Bus Station and Railway Square Bus Station being the most primary.
The Kunming–Bangkok Expressway is the first expressway from China to Bangkok via Laos. The 1,800 km (1,100 mi) long Kunming–Bangkok Expressway begins at Kunming going down to Ban Houayxay in Laos; it then crosses the Mekong River to Chiangkhong in Thailand and eventually reaches Bangkok.
At the 14th Greater Mekong Subregion Ministerial Conference in July 2007, China, Laos and Thailand signed an agreement on the construction of a new bridge over the Mekong River to connect Chiangkhong in Thailand and Ban Houayxay in Laos, to the Kunming–Bangkok Highway. The completion of the new bridge over the Mekong River will help connect China's southeast provinces with Bangkok. With capital investments from both China and Thailand, the bridge is expected to be completed in 2011 and will be the last link in the highway system that winds through the Mekong River region.
Public buses and taxis are the two main means of transport within the city. A metro system is currently under construction (see Kunming Metro).
Nearly two hundred public bus lines crisscross the city center, covering the whole prefecture.
Cycling is common, and many hotels around the Kunming Railway Station provide bicycle rental services.
Conscious of its growing traffic issues, the city is currently renovating a pedestrian-friendly city centre.
The city hangs off two main thoroughfares: Beijing Lu forms the north-south axis, passing just east of the center as it runs for 5 km (3.1 mi) between the city's two trains stations; while Dongfeng Lu crosses it halfway along, divided into east (Dongfeng Dong Lu), middle (Dongfeng Zhong Lu) and west (Dongfeng Xi Lu) sections as it cuts right through the business center. The far end runs out of the city as Renmin Xi Lu, the first leg of the Burma Road. Most of the city's famous hotels and foreign consulates lies along Dongfeng Dong Lu and the southern half of Beijing Lu, while the majority of specific landmarks and shopping district are north and west of the center around Dongfeng Xi Lu and Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park). Circling most of this is the city's first highway ring road, Huancheng Lu, though others are planned.
Kunming is headquarters of the 14th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army, one of the two group armies that comprise the Chengdu Military Region responsible for the defense of China's southwestern borders with India and Myanmar, as well as security in Tibet.
Kunming remains a major educational and cultural center in the southwest region of China, with universities, medical and teacher-training colleges, technical schools, and scientific research institutes.
The city has more than 300 scientific research institutions employing 450,000 scientists and technicians. Included were 68,500 people with middle-level and senior professional titles. In 1995, the city achieved 60 research findings, of which one reached the "advanced international standard", 17 "advanced domestic standard" and 21 "advanced provincial standard".
The Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School, aka CEIBS, will launch in 2009 its Business Development Certificate Programme in Kunming. With the Business Development Certificate Programme, CEIBS and program partner Frankfurt School of Finance & Management aim to train approximately 500 Chinese managers in the coming four years, with the first phase of the program beginning in 2008 in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province. Kunming and Harbin will be the focus of the program's expansion in 2009. The program is part of a two million Euro umbrella project funded by the EU, which also includes another program that provides scholarships for MBA students from China's less-developed regions.
The Kunming Branch of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was established in 1957. It was formerly known as Kunming Office of CAS and was extended into a branch in 1958 and renamed as Yunnan Branch of CAS. In 1962, Yunnan Branch combined with Sichuan Branch and Guizhou Branch to establish Southwest China Branch of CAS in Chengdu. In October 1978, Kunming Branch was reestablished at the approval of the State Council.
As a working department of CAS, Kunming Branch now administrates five research institutes:
At present, it has a total staff of 1,160, of which 808 are professional researchers, 7 academicians, 343 senior researchers. There are also 447 Ph.D. degree students and 530 master's degree students. The retired staff is 1,090. The Branch has set up 3 national key open labs, 2 CAS key open labs, 5 key labs set up by CAS and local province, 3 engineering centers, 5 doctoral sites, 5 post doctoral stations and national famous plant herbariums and halls of wildlife specimen and had a series of updated research instruments and apparatus, computer networks and biodiversity information systems. The Branch has become an advanced comprehensive science research base in astronomy, geology and biology.
The administrative organ of Kunming Branch is organized by three functional departments (General Office, Office of Personnel and Office of Sci-tech Cooperation) and a supporting department (Network Center). The major tasks are: to construct the leadership of the five institutes and cadres reserve; to organize and facilitate the cooperation between CAS and Yunnan Province and Guizhou Province; to coordinate projects and poverty alleviation; to undertake the coordination and administration of the knowledge creation base of "Conservation and Research Development of Southwest China Biological Resources and Biodiversity". Kunming Branch has established international exchange platforms with southeast Asian countries. In 2005, a delegation from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology was invited to visit Kunming Branch and reached a cooperation intention with Kunming Branch in staff exchange, coed graduate students, research program cooperation, scientific data exchange and set up labs jointly. Kunming Branch has organized the affiliated institutes to apply for the foreign aid training program from the state.
Currently, there are 2,774 medical institutes of various kinds and 33,600 medical professionals in the City. The 170 medical service institutes based on communities cover a population of 1.86 million. China Health Management Corp (CNHC) is the main private healthcare provider in the city. It has been predicted that private hospitals will provide 70 percent of total medical health care services by 2012 within Kunming City.
Hospitals in Kunming include:
In late 2006, China's first provincial-level HIV/AIDS treatment center was built. The US$17.5 million center is located 28 km (17 mi) from downtown Kunming. The center has six main departments: clinical treatment, technical consulting, research and development, international exchange and cooperation, clinical treatment training and psychological therapy.
Yunnan, with a population of more than 45 million, leads China in HIV/AIDS infections: primarily spread through intravenous drug use and unsafe sex, often involving the sex industry. According to official statistics, by the end of last year Yunnan was home to more than 48,000 HIV-infected patients, 3,900 patients with AIDS and a death toll of 1,768.
The headquarters of the Kunming Municipal Public Security Bureau is on Beijing Lu. Its foreign affairs department, located on Jinxing Huayuan, Jinxing Xiao Lu in the northeast of the city, handles immigration and travel visas.
North Korean defectors – who mostly illegally enter China, mostly have to travel thru Kunming to get to another country, so that they can get to South Korea.
Kunming has a pivotal role as a major conduit point in international drug trafficking as it is the closest major Chinese city situated near the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia. The Kunming Municipal Public Security Bureau Narcotics Squad is the specialist counter-narcotics police service.
Police confiscated at least three tons of drugs in Yunnan in 2005. Yunnan province seized 10 tons of illegal drugs in 2006, accounting for 80 percent of the total drugs confiscated nationwide during the period, according to Sun Dahong, then deputy director of Yunnan's provincial Public Security Bureau. The total is more than double the amount seized in the province in 2005.
Heroin and methamphetamine seem to be the main targets of the 30,000+ strong anti-drug police in Yunnan. The majority of heroin coming into China from the Golden Triangle passes through Dali from where it is then distributed to the rest of China and internationally via China's coastal cities.
Kunming Municipal Compulsory Rehabilitation Center in Kunming is the main rehabilitation center for drug addicts, mostly recovering from heroin addiction. International drug rings have used Yunnan and Kunming to channel new synthetic drugs (like methamphetamine) as well as traditional drugs like heroin.
Opium was until recently in widespread medicinal use by many of the minority peoples of the province; however, after the Opium War the Chinese government has made growing the poppy illegal, and all but stamped out its production within the borders of Yunnan.
The following countries have a diplomatic mission in Kunming:
There are some famous colleges in Kunming, like Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University, [null Kunming University of Science and Technology], and [null Yunnan Nationalities University].
Yunnan university (云南大学) is one of the largest and the most prestigious university in China, and it’s only one university in Yunnan province which has been developed into the “National Key University”. It’s located in the capital of Yunnan province, Kunming.
Yunnan University founded in 1922, and it was called “University of the Eastern Land” at the beginning, and then it changed its name 6 times.
Until now, Yunnan University contains 17 schools and 3 independent schools which are located in other cities. Meanwhile, the largest and best law school in Yunnan province is also contained in Yunnan University.
Yunnan Normal University (云南师范大学) is located in the capital of Yunnan province, Kunming.
Yunnan Normal University founded in 1938 based on some top university in China: Tsinghua University, Beijing University, and Nankai University. It’s called the National Normal College of Southwestern Union University. In 1946, when faculties return to north of China, it changed name to National Kunming Normal College.
Yunnan Normal University has 6 campus which are located in Kunming and other cities. It contains 22 schools, and there are 33000 under graduated students in Yunnan Normal university.
Kunming University of Science and Technology (昆明理工大学) is in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, and it established in 1954.
Kunming University of Science and Technology has strong engineering background, and it became one of the key university because of its engineering background in 2010. Now, Kunming University of Science and Technology develops into an important base for training advanced technology personnel.
In 2017, Kunming University of Science and Technology has 3 campus in Kunming, and it contains 24 schools. There are more than 27000 under graduated students study in Kunming University of Science and Technology.
Yunnan Nationalities University is located in Kunming. It was founded in 1951, and it was called Yunnan Nationalities College at the beginning.
Yunnan Nationalities University is the first Nationalities University in China, and now it’s one of 6 Key universities in Yunnan province.
Yunnan Nationalities University established cooperative relations with 26 universities which are located in 10 different nations, including: University of Bergen in Norway, La Trobe University in Australia, and University of Virginia in USA.
Yunnan Nationalities University has a Nationalities Museum, which contains more than 20000 rare collections. There are more than 23000 under graduated students study in campus.
Huayang Academy is a specialist Chinese language training centre based in Kunming.
The school is unique in that it trains people in standard Mandarin and Kunming dialect.
As of 2015 Huayang has been a popular centre of Western culture in Kunming. Numerous foreign owned businesses have started in the vicinity.
Notable people from Kunming include: