Definitions

space rate

Kunming

[koon-ming]

Kunming (kʊn'mɪŋ; UN/LOCODE: CNKMG) is a prefecture-level city and capital of Yunnan province, in southwestern China. Because of its year-round temperate climate, Kunming is often called the "Spring City" or "City of Eternal Spring" (春城).

Kunming is the political, economic, communications and cultural center of Yunnan, and is the seat of the provincial government. It is also home to several universities, museums, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. The headquarters of many of Yunnan's large businesses are in Kunming as well. 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 m above sea level and at a latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer. It covers an area of 21,501 km² and its urban area covers 6,200 km². Kunming has an estimated population of 5,740,000 including 3,055,000 in the urban area 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, Yunnan Minorities University and a medical college. On the outskirts is a famed bronze temple, dating from the Ming dynasty. Kunming was formerly called Yunnanfu (云南府; literally meaning "Yunnan Capital") until the 1920s.

It is the leading transportation hub (air, road, rail) in SW China, with a rail connection to Vietnam and road links to Burma and Laos. Kunming currently has a new international airport under development, which is slated to be the fourth largest international airport in China. Situated in a fertile plain 640 km southwest of Chongqing, Kunming is an important trading center between the far west and central and south China. It is one of China's largest producers of copper. Copper is smelted with nearby hydroelectric power. Coal is mined, and the city has a few iron and steel complexes. Other manufactures include phosphorus, chemicals, machinery, textiles, paper, and cement. Although it was often the seat of kings in ancient times, Kunming's modern prosperity dates only from 1910, when the railroad 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.

From 2005 to 2010, the city of Kunming plans to nearly double in size, in terms of both population (to eight million people) and area, and it hopes to be one of the trade, transport, financial and cultural centers of Southeast Asia. Kunming's transport links to Southeast Asia and elsewhere, particularly its air links, are steadily expanding, with direct routes already existing to all major Chinese cities, most major Southeast Asian cities and some major cities in Japan and South Korea.

Key development issues for Kunming include a local educated and talent pool that is less sophisticated than larger Chinese cities and the need for increased transport links.

Name

Its present name "Kunming" was the sound of the title of an ethnic group residing in southwest China in ancient times. This group lived a nomadic life in west Yunnan and moved to settle in the area around the Dianchi Lake during the period from the Han to the Tang dynasties. At the outset of the Yuan Dynasty, the administration "Kunming Two Thousand Households" was established near the lake and the title of the group was first used to designate the place, a tradition which has lasted up to now.

History

Early history

Early settlements in the area date back to Neolithic times but it was not until the fourth century BCE that the Dian Kingdom took shape on the site of present-day Kunming.

Historically the domain of Yunnan's earliest inhabitants and first civilization, 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 BCE, although they have been long lost to history. The first settlements were formed by a general of the Chu Kingdom near to Lake Dianchi.

The city of Kunzhou, which was just southeast of what is now known as Kunming, was established in 109 CE at the time of the Han Dynasty and during the reign of Emperor Wudi.

The Han Dynasty (205 BCE - 220 CE), seeking control over the Southern Silk Road running to Burma and India, brought much of Yunnan into China's orbit, though subsequent dynasties could do little to tame what was then a remote and wild borderland.

Nanzhao Kingdom and Yuan Dynasty

Founded in 765 CE, Kunming was known to the Chinese as Tuodong (拓东) city in the independent state of Nanzhao during the 8th and 9th centuries.

This changed when Tuodong came under the control of the Chinese central government with the Yuan (Mongol) 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 of the place.

Ming and Qing dynasties

In the 1300s, Kunming was retaken as the Ming Dynasty defeated the Mongols, which built a wall surrounding present-day Kunming. Ming General Wu Sangui defeated 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 (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) 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.

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 300,000 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 Tengyue into Myanmar, the other southward through Mengzi 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.

Modern history

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 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. In the 1930s its importance grew still further when the first highways were built, linking Kunming with Chongqing in Sichuan and Guiyang in Guizhou to the east. Kunming's rail link to Hanoi was cut during World War II, restored in 1957, cut again in 1979, and reopened in 1996.

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 (see National Southwestern Associated University). The increased money and expertise quickly established Kunming as an industrial and manufacturing base for the wartime government in Chongqing (then part of Sichuan province). These influences saw the city move towards more modern attitudes and gradually it began to resemble other major Chinese cities with thriving industrial areas and large scale residential districts.

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 turned coat 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 of Kunming with the west, both via the newly constructed Burma Road and by air, grew increasingly vital as Allied forces provided essential support by importing materials from the British-colony 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, including China, India and Burma. 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 on in the war, Kunming was targeted by the Imperial Japanese Air Force during their 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. See Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road.

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. A university was set up in 1922. 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, second only to Chongqing 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 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.

Since the economic reforms of mid-1980s, Kunming has also enjoyed increased tourism and foreign investment. Neighboring nations such as Thailand trace their ancestries back to Yunnan and have proved particularly willing to channel funds into Kunming. The city has become ever more developed and accessible as a result. 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.

On 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, which would have a population of approximately 1.8 billion. 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.

Kunming's second and current building spree in and around Kunming can be compared to the years leading up to 1999, when Kunming held its first major international event, the World Horticultural Expo. 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, which seemed to exceed almost all expectations. 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.

In July 2006 talks at the ASEAN Regional Forum, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) agreed to construct a highway from Kunming to Chittagong through Mandalay for trade and development.

Emblem

The emblem of the city of Kunming is composed of a golden horse and a green rooster. It was designed according to a popular legend about Dianchi Lake. On the eastern bank of Dianchi Lake stands the Jinma (Golden Horse) Hill; and on the lake's western bank stands the Biji (Green Rooster) Hill. The two hills form a pass of strategic importance in the city. In folklore, a golden horse ran out of the sun while a green rooster flew out of the moon. Wherever the horse and rooster appeared, lush trees grew and flowers bloomed, signaling prosperity. They eventually settled on the banks of Dianchi Lake and protected the people of Kunming.

Geography and climate

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 km. Its widest stretch from the east to the west amounts to 140 km and its largest expansion from the north to the south amounts to 220 km.

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 kilometers.

Located at an elevation of 1,890 m on the Yungui 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 less hot than the lowlands.

Controlled by a temperate plateau monsoon climate, average highs are 15 C in winter and 24 C in summer. 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 the year round.

The period from May to October is the rainy season and the rest of the year is dry. The city has a mean annual rainfall of 1,000 mm, with an annual sunshine period of 2,250 hours and an annual frost-free period of 230 days.

Kunming's highest point is Mazong Ridge of the Jiaozi Mountain in Luquan with an elevation of 4,247 m, and its lowest point is the joint of the Xiaojiang River and the Jinsha River in Dongchuan District, with an elevation of 695 m. Its downtown area is 1,891 m above sea level.

About 96 km (60 miles) southeast of the city is the Stone Forest, 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.

Environment and horticulture

Kunming has 2,585 hectares of lawns, trees and flowers averaging 4.96 square meters per capita. The green space rate is 21.7%. The city's smoke control area is 115 square kilometers and noise control area 87 square kilometers.

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 magnolica, azalea, fairy primrose, lily and orchid are known as the six famous flowers of the city.

Camellia was confirmed by the Standing Committee of the Municipal NPC of Kunming as its city flower in 1983.

Environmental court

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 province.

Wildlife

Over the past 17 years, several hundred thousands of Siberian seagulls have flown south to the city every winter, forming a unique migratory route.

Paleontology

Among Chinese fossils that were discovered in 2002 was an important new invertebrate animal species from Early Cambrian deposits at Chengjiang near Kunming. Didazoon haoae represented an entirely new phylum of metazoans (multicellular animals), the phylum Vetulicolia. The specimen had a series of gill slits, which suggested that this new group illustrates an early stage in the diversification of the deuterostomes, one of the major animal divisions. Other deuterostome groups are the chordates (which includes the vertebrates), hemichordates, and echinoderms. Also reported was a Devonian Chinese fossil fish, Styloichthys changae, that has features linking the lungfish to tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates).

In 2004, newly discovered well-preserved soft-bodied fossils of deuterostomes from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang deposits near Kunming represented a new group of echinoderms (a group of marine animals). Named vetulocystids, these deuterostomes were a diverse superphylum that included the chordates, hemichordates, and echinoderms. The find shed some light on the origin of the echinoderms.

See also:

Boundaries

Yunnan 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.Sichuan Kunming also borders with Panzhihua prefecture level city and Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province.

Administrative divisions

The prefecture-level city of Kunming has jurisdiction over 14 subdivisions - five districts, one county-level city, five counties and three autonomous counties.

Kunming plans to add two new districts to its existing four urban districts (Panlong, Wuhua, Guandu, Xishan) over the next few years.

Yiliang County ->>
Prefecture-level County-level
Name Chinese (S) Hanyu Pinyin
Kunming City
昆明市
Kūnmíng Shì
Panlong District 盘龙区 Pánlóng Qū
Wuhua District 五华区 Wǔhuá Qū
Guandu District 官渡区 Guāndù Qū
Xishan District 西山区 Xīshān Qū
Dongchuan District 东川区 Dōngchuān Qū
Anning City 安宁市 Ānníng Shì
Chenggong County 呈贡县 Chénggòng Xiàn
Jinning County 晋宁县 Jìnníng Xiàn
Fumin County 富民县 Fùmín Xiàn
Yiliang County 宜良县 Yíliáng Xiàn
Songming County 嵩明县 Sōngmíng Xiàn
Shilin Yi Autonomous County 石林彝族自治县 Shílín Yízú Zìzhìxiàn
Luquan Yi and Miao
Autonomous County
禄劝彝族
苗族自治县
Lùquàn Yízú
Miáozú Zìzhìxiàn
Xundian Hui and Yi
Autonomous County
寻甸回族
彝族自治县
Xúndiàn Huízú
Yízú Zìzhìxiàn

Demographics

Since its initiation in 1979 China's one-child policy has had a major impact upon the mainland populace, with one of the most notable population trends being an increasingly unequal gender ratio. According to new government statistics, some Chinese provinces are averaging gender ratios as unbalanced as 1.35 males to every female. When compared with much of the rest of China, Kunming has one of the more balanced gender ratios, with a male-to-female ratio of 1.05 to 1.

Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority culture. Twenty five ethnic minorities live in Yunnan. This is nearly half of the total number of ethnic minorities in China, and ethnic minorities make up about a third of the total provincial population. There is a strong migration from the countryside.

Of the more than five million people registered as residents in Kunming last year, 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.

Ethnic populations (as of 2006):

  • Han (汉族): 4,383,500
  • Yi (彝族): 400,200
  • Hui (回族): 149,000
  • Bai (白族): 73,200
  • Miao (苗族): 46,100
  • Lisu (傈僳族): 17,700
  • Zhuang (壮族): 14,000
  • Dai (傣族): 13,200
  • Hani (哈尼族): 11,000
  • Naxi (纳西族): 8,400
  • Manchu (满族): 4,800
  • Buyi (布依族): 3,400
  • Mongol (蒙古族): 2,500
  • Lahu (拉祜族): 1,700
  • Tibetan (藏族): 1,500
  • Yao (瑶族): 1,100
  • Jingpo (景颇族): 1,100
  • Wa (佤族): 1,000
  • Bulang (布朗族): 441
  • Pumi (普米族): 421
  • Shui (水族): 294
  • Akha (阿昌族): 263
  • Nu (怒族): 156
  • Jinuo (基诺族): 135
  • Dulong (独龙族): 75

Dialect

See Kunming dialect.

Society and culture

The city center has three major squares and five major streets: Jinma Biji Square, Jinbi Square and Dongfeng Square along with Nanping Jie, Jinma Biji Fang, Renmi Lu and Zhengyi Lu and Jingxin. Qingnian Lu, Zhengyi Lu, and Renmin Lu are the main commercial areas in Kunming; the most popular pedestrian streets are Nanping Jie, Jingxing Huaniao Shichang, and Jinma Biji Fang.

Architecture

The oldest traditional Chinese architecture buildings and structures date back to the Ming and Tang dynasties.

Central Kunming

Kunming's public focus is the huge square outside the Workers' Cultural Hall at the Beijing Lu-Dongfeng Lu intersection, where in the mornings there are crowds doing tai qi 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 earnestly 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 - a quiet place where old men play chess and drink tea.

Bookstores

The two main bookstores are Xinhua Bookstore (on Renmin Dong Lu) and Mandarin Books (on Wenhua Xiang, near Yunnan University). Both have the largest selections of foreign-language literature and niche academic, obscure, and imported texts. The main hospital in Kunming is the Yunnan Province Red Cross hospital and emergency center on Qingnian Lu.

Wheatfield Bookstore (on Tianjundian Xiang) specializes in Chinese translations of international works.

Museums

There are two major museums in Kunming, Yunnan Provincial Museum and Kunming City Museum. A third which opened in November 2006, is the Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology. Completed in 1995 is the Yunnan Ethnology Museum.

Yunnan Provincial Museum

About 500 m west of the center along Dongfeng Xi Lu and the #5 bus route, the Yunnan Provincial Museum has a collection of clothes and photographs of Yunnan's cultural groups. There are also Dian bronzes, dating back more than two thousand years to the Warring States Period and excavated from tombs on the shores of Dian, south of Kunming. The largest pieces include an ornamental plate of a tiger attacking an ox and a coffin in the shape of a bamboo house, but lids from storage drums used to hold cowries are the most impressive, decorated with dioramas of figurines fighting, sacrificing oxen and men and, rather more peacefully, posing with their families and farmyard animals outside their homes. A replica of the Chinese imperial gold seal given to the Dian king early on in the second century implies that his aristocratic slave society had the tacit approval of the Han emperor. There is a prehistoric section with plaster models and casts of locally found trilobites, armored fishes, and dinosaur and early human remains.

Kunming City Museum

The highlight of the Kunming City Museum, west off Beijing Lu along Tuodong Lu, is the Dali Sutra Pillar, a 6.5 m-high, pagoda-like Song dynasty sculpture in pink sandstone in its own room. An octagonal base supports seven tiers covered in Buddha images, statues of guardian gods standing on subjugated demons, and a mix of Tibetan and Chinese script, part of which is the Dharani Mantra. The rest is a dedication, identifying the pillar as being raised by the Dali regent, Yuan Douguang, in memory of his general Gao Ming. Above them is a ring of Buddhas carrying a ball symbolizing the universe. Formerly part of the defunct Dizang temple, the pillar is a powerful work, full of the energy that later seeped out of the mainstream of Chinese sculpture.

The other exhibits are a well-presented repeat of the Provincial Museum's collection. There is a range of bronze drums with the oldest known example to relatively recent castings, allowing one to see how the typical decorations - sun and frog designs on top, long-plumed warriors in boats around the sides, tiger handles - became so stylized. There are also cowry-drum lids, and a host of other bronze pieces of birds, animals and people. Other rooms contain two excellent dioramas of Ming dynasty and modern Kunming, accounts (in Chinese) of the voyages of Zheng He, the famous Ming eunuch admiral, and five locally found fossilized dinosaur skeletons - including a tyranosaurus-like allosaur, and the bulky Yunnanosaurus robustus.

Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology

The Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology presents the diversity of fauna, past and present, of Southwest China. A trio of dino-skeletons dominate the prehistoric exhibit on the first floor. These plant-eaters stomped around Yunnan about 200 million years ago. Though the biggest of the three is a cast, the smaller ones are genuine bones, exhumed from Yunnan's Lufeng Basin in the 1980s. Though the prehistoric exhibit is the most impressive, there are plenty of animals to be seen on all of the museum's three floors. An array of taxidermied mammals and birds lines the display cases of the second floor. Up another flight of stairs reveals a "Rainforest Adventure," which walks visitors along a path through synthetic trees, bird calls and a darkened cave. There are rigid fish and snakes entombed in formaldehyde jars.

Because of the museum's affiliation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it is well positioned as both a tourist attraction and a home to future zoological scholarship. Most of the visitors come with a scientific background.

Cuihu Park

Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park) is predominately a lake surrounded by greenery. It has a large and elaborate network of waterways and winding paths, with broad, lotus-covered pools and overhanging willows. It is a place where thousands exercise, do tai qi, sing and feed flocks of gulls.

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. The only inscription is The People's Musician Nie Er. Nie Er drowned in Japan in 1935 en route to the Soviet Union in his attempt to escape Chiang Kai-shek's Guomindang troops. He was 23.

Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool)

Heilongtan 黑龙潭 or 'Black Dragon Pool' is far north of Kunming's city center. There is a goldfish-packed pond surrounded by beautiful old buildings and Buddhist statues and shrines. There are many gardens and at the top of a ridge in the end of the park is a grand view of Kunming.

Kunming Botanical Gardens

Kunming Botanical Gardens 植物园 - not to be confused with the Horticultural Expo Garden, the botanical gardens are located very close to Heilongtan (about 200 m).

Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Si (temple) is a northern Yunnan's major Buddhist site and an active place of pilgrimage. 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. Newly renovated the Qing-vintage temple is busy, with gardens of bright pot plants just inside the entrance. A bridge over the central pond crosses through an octagonal pavilion dedicated to a multi-armed Guanyin and white marble Sakyamuni, to the threshold of the main hall, where two huge central pillars wrapped in colorful dragons support the ornate wooden ceiling. Faded frescoes on the back wall were painted in the 13th-century, while a new annexe out the back houses a graceful gilded bronze Buddha flanked by peacocks, donated by the King of Thailand and the Thai government. There is vegetarian restaurant nearby on Yuantong Jie.

Yuantong Park and Zoo

The Yuantong Si sits on the southern slope of the large Yuantong Park. Kunming's zoo, founded in 1950, is adjoined to the park. The zoo houses 5,000 animals from 140 species and receives 3 million visitors a year.

Bamboo Temple

Northwest about 12 km from the city center is the Qiongzhu Si (or Bamboo Temple) built in 639 and rebuilt in 1422 to 1428, this temple houses an incredibly vivid tableau of 500 arhats carved between 1883 and 1890 by Sichuanese sculptor Li Guangxiu and his six apprentices, who gave to each arhat a different and incredibly naturalistic facial expression and pose. It is thought that some of these arhats, who range from the emaciated to the pot-bellied, the angry to the contemplative, were carved in the images of the sculptor's contemporaries, friends, and foes. A wildly fantastical element dominates the main hall, where an arhat surfs a wave on the back of a unicorn, while another stretches a 3 m (10 ft) arm upward to pierce the ceiling.

Southern Kunming

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.

Daguan Park (大观公园) on Kunming's southwestern limits. Originally laid out by the energetic seventeenth-century Qing emperor Kangxi, 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. Among shady walks and pools, Daguan's focal point is Daguan Ge, a square, three-storeyed pavilion built to better Kangxi's enjoyment of the distant Western Hills and now a storehouse of calligraphy extolling the area's charms. The most famous poem here is a 118-character verse, carved into the gateposts by the Qing scholar Sun Ran, reputed to be the longest set of rhyming couplets in China. The park is set on Daguan Stream, which flows south into Lake Dian, and there are frequent hour-long cruises down the waterway, lined with willows, to points along Lake Dian's northern shore. Lake Dian, also known as the Kunming Lake, is the largest lake on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. At Longmen of the Western Hills, there is a panoramic view of the lake.

Wenmiao Tea Garden (文庙茶园) is on Renmin Zhong Lu in the Wuhua District. It is a small tree-filled park that has a walkway, a bridge, a large pagoda and several restaurant-style booths around the edges. There is a collection of yingkesong (迎客松) aka bonsai trees. Locals play mahjong, cards and xiangqi.

Western Hills

Jiuxiang

Other landmarks

The "Garden of the Word Horticultural Exposition", located in the northern suburbs of Kunming, is six kilometers from central Kunming. From May 1 to October 31 1999, Kunming held the 1999 World Horticulture Exposition, with the theme of "Man and Nature - Marching Toward the 21st Century". In the garden, visitors can see gardening and horticultural works from all over China and East Asia. All the horticultural works in the garden concentrate on the theme of "Man and Nature", with pavilions, towers, terraces, banks, islets and bridges.

The "Golden Hall Scenic Zone", located on the Mingfeng Hill in the northern suburbs of Kunming, is eight kilometers from central Kunming. Constructed in 1602 (the 30th year of the Wanli reign period of the Ming Dynasty), all of its beans, 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.

A 12.2 m (40 ft) statue of Optimus Prime from Transformers is located near several automobile dealerships on Erhuan Xi Lu. The Transformers cartoon was broadcast in China from 1990 onwards and has a large following among youths of that generation.

Leisure and entertainment

Within Kunming, the entertainment district has its focus around Kunming Square, with many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants. Eating out is the main pleasure after dark in Kunming. Food aside, one feature of less formal Yunnanese restaurants is that they often have a communal bamboo water pipe and tobacco for their customers. Nightlife has improved recently, thanks to rising incomes and tourist population. 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.

Art galleries

  • YunArt Gallery, highlights leading and up-and-coming artists from Yunnan.
  • TCG Nordica, an international art gallery and culture centre situated in the heart of the artist community at Chuang Ku/LOFT in Kunming.

Cinemas

Kunming Movie Business company, owns three of Kunming's most popular cinemas - Xinjianshe Cinema, Renmin Cinema and Dianchi Vision Plaza. The Kunming Shuncheng Mall IMAX Theater is scheduled to open in December 2008.

Film festivals

  • BigScreen Festival (or "BigScreen Italia"), focuses on Chinese and Italian cinema
  • Yunnan Mulicultural Visual Festival ("Yunfest"), focuses on Chinese documentaries in Yunnan
  • Kunming Anime Festival

TV, film and media base

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 three square kilometers. 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).

Food

Kunming's cuisine is distinctly Yunnanese and combines fresh ingredients afforded by the moderate climate with mild herbs and spices giving its cooked dishes sufficient flavour but lacking the pungency associated with food from other regions of the country. The city's climate fosters the growth of literally hundreds of species of mushroom which are consequently a predominant feature of many dishes. There are other regional Chinese cuisines, with a few upmarket restaurants serving international dishes. Back lanes running north off Dongfeng Xi Lu or Jinbi Lu have the famous stalls and restaurants where the locals offer specialties such as grilled cheese, hotpots, fired snacks rolled in chilli powder, loaves of excellent meat-stuffed soda bread, and rich duck and chicken casseroles. The special dish of Kunming is guò qiáo mĭxiàn, a boiling, spicy soup with noodles under a layer of oil. Meat is added to the broth kept hot by the layer of oil. The legend behind "crossing bridge noodles" involves a student studying for the imperial exam (which was given once per year). He went to study on an island a short ways away from his wife and village. Everyday his wife would bring him food, but because of the distance (she had to cross a bridge) the food would get cold. The student's wife figured out that by layering the broth with oil, she could keep the food hot.

Some of the most famous Kunming food is as follows:

  • Over the Bridge Rice Noodles
  • Steam Potted Chicken
  • Er Kuai (Rice Cake)
  • Smoked Smelly Bean Curd - popular night stall snack
  • The Eight Treasures of Yunnan - type of stuffed cake

Famous Restaurants

  • Qiao Xiangyuan Restaurant - special local food
  • Jinbichun Restaurant - has a history of over 100 years
  • World Expo Jixing Yuan Restaurant

Sports

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.

Haigeng National Training Center is located on Lake Dianchi near Kunming's award-winning Lakeview Golf Club and new condominium developments, and is relatively isolated. It contains eight basketball courts, weight rooms, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a dozen football pitches, two running tracks, a pool for swimming and one for diving. It also has a large snooker hall, a room for table tennis and a volleyball gym. Athletes, coaches and team managers stay onsite in the complex's many dormitories and hotel rooms.

Hongta Sports Center was built in 2000 by one of Yunnan's largest corporations Hongta cigarette company with a cost of US$58 million. Near Haigeng Park, the complex is mostly used by professional athletes but also acts as a sports club for the general public. The general public can use all of its extensive facilities and 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 m 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 and pool tables, and a basement bowling alley. Hongta also has a 101-room hotel and restaurant.

Golf

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.

Facilities

Major sports facilities include:

Tourism

Kunming is among the most famous historical and cultural cities and one of the top tourist cities in China. Due to its pleasant climate, plateau scenery, age-old history, diverse ethnic customs, and unique plants and animals, Kunming attracts domestic and foreign tourists all year round. As the tourism center of Yunnan province, Kunming has also been a transport hub, from where tourists can go easily to places such as Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila.

Over 24 million domestic tourists visited Kunming in 2007, with 800,000 foreign tourists visiting annually. Kunming's total revenue from tourism in 2007 was 16.8 billion yuan, an increase of 8.0% over 2006.

Kunming hosts 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.

Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions venues

  • Kunming International Convention and Exhibition Center (中国昆明国际会展中心)
  • Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Hall (云南省科技馆)

International Folk Arts and Craft Union

In October 2006, artists from China, Taiwan, the US, Canada, Japan and elsewhere adopted a constitution for the newly formed International Folk Arts and Craft Union (IFACU). The stated mission of IFACU is to organize and promote cooperation among the world's artists to promote and preserve folk arts and crafts. The organization will be based in Kunming, ostensibly because of the ethnic diversity in Yunnan and the variety of folk art and crafts found throughout the province. The first IFACU general assembly is scheduled to take place in Kunming sometime in 2008.

Economy

Kunming holds three distinct economic advantages over other cities in southwest China: abundant natural resources, an excellent local consumer market and the mildest climate in the region.

Due to its position at the geographical center of Yunnan, one of China's largest producers of agricultural products, minerals and hydroelectric power, Kunming is the main commercial hub for most of the province's vast resources.

Kunming's chief industries are the production of copper, lead, and zinc; its iron and steel industry has been greatly expanded. Salt and phosphate mines around Kunming are some of the largest in China. Kunming's economy was ranked 12th of all Chinese cities in 1992.

In May 1995, the State Council approved Kunming as an Open City. By the end of that year, the city had approved 929 overseas-funded enterprises with a total investment of 2.286 billion US dollars including 1.073 billion U.S. dollars of foreign capital. More than 40 projects each had an investment of more than nine million U.S. dollars.

Kunming is also a center of the engineering industry, manufacturing machine tools, electrical machinery and equipment, and automobiles (including heavy goods vehicles). It has a major chemical industry, as well as plastics, cement works and textile factories. Its many processing plants, which include tanneries and 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.

Because of its location in the southwest of China, Kunming was generally passed over in China's rapid economic growth in the 1990s. However, recently the city has received renewed attention, launching Kunming into an international commercial hub of South and Southeast Asia.

Kunming economic authorities are active participants in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), promoting trade throughout China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Several railroads and highways have been planned to connect Kunming to areas of Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, providing Kunming transportation access to sea ports.

In 2006, the Chinese government approved a 2912 km oil pipeline to be built from the Indian Ocean coastal town of Sittwe, Myanmar to Kunming. This pipeline will carry African and Middle Eastern petroleum to China, bypassing some oil shipments through the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. The pipeline will cut oil transport time by two weeks. In addition, Kunming is also said to be the site for an oil refinery for the incoming oil.

Development zones

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).

Statistics

For the fiscal year of 2007,

  • Kunming's gross domestic product (GDP) was 139.3 billion yuan;
  • fixed asset investment was 81.8 billion yuan;
  • real estate investment was 22.2 billion yuan;
  • retail sales was 56.9 billion yuan;
  • per capita disposable income within Kunming's urban areas grew to 12,083 yuan;
  • Kunming's average farmer outside of the city earned 4,003 yuan.

Companies

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, while Hongyun Group took the third place with revenues of RMB39.23 billion. The tobacco sector remains the largest sector in the province. Top 10 Top 10 Kunming-based companies, according to Yunnan Provincial Enterprise Association :

(company; annual operating revenue; primary business)

  1. Hongta Group (红塔集团): 40,798,100,000 yuan; tobacco
  2. Yunnan Copper Group (云铜集团): 32,690,420,000 yuan; copper/nonferrous metals
  3. Hongyun Group (红云集团): 25,644,350,000 yuan; tobacco
  4. Yunnan Power Grid Co (云南电网公司): 23,299,000,000 yuan; power generation/transmission
  5. Kunming Iron & Steel Company (昆明钢铁控股有限公司): 16,539,360,000 yuan; ferrous metals
  6. Sinopec Yunnan (中石化云南石油分公司): 16,000,000,000 yuan; petroleum/petrochemicals
  7. Yuntianhua Group (云天化集团): 15,217,980,000 yuan; chemicals, fertilizer
  8. Honghe Cigarette Factory (红河卷烟总厂): 14,500,000,000 yuan; tobacco
  9. Yunnan Metallurgical Group (云南冶金集团): 14,240,180,000 yuan; non-ferrous metals
  10. Kunming Rail Bureau (昆明铁路局): 10,015,840,000 yuan; rail logisticsFinancial services
  11. Kunming International Trust CompanyPharmaceuticals
  12. Kunming Pharmaceutical Corporation

Foreign investment

Over 2,000 foreign companies have invested in Kunming, as of 2008.

In 2001, three years after the World Horticultural Expo, the Netherlands, a horticultural powerhouse itself, established an official presence in Kunming to help Dutch companies set up operations in Kunming. The Netherlands Business Support Office Kunming (NBSO Kunming) was established in 2002.

Retail and real estate sectors

Kunming is the only major city in Yunnan province which has 48 million people. Real wealth has been generated in the last decade through pillar industries such as hydropower, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, tourism and the local property market. Once an economic backwater, the city of Kunming in Yunnan province has been emerging as a promising market for imported goods and services from around the world as well as goods produced by foreign invested enterprises. Kunming is quickly becoming one of China's most promising second-tier retail markets.

Modern retail stores have sprung up over the past four years. Several hypermarkets and supermarket chains, along with proliferating convenience stores, have taken root. Stores are supplying a full range of services to meet the demands of families that often shop together.

In 2006, Kunming municipality's per capita disposable income broke the 10,000-yuan mark for the first time, reaching 10,070 yuan. Given the relatively low cost of living in Kunming, city residents are increasingly spending their cash on retail goods and services. Kunming's government has begun to acknowledge the growing influence of consumer spending on local economic growth - retail spending in 2006 totaled 39.12 billion yuan, an 18.8 percent increase over 2005.

One unique aspect of the retail scene in Kunming is that there are very few centralized shopping areas offering a wide variety of goods. This is primarily due to the city's loose zoning and lack of a relatively integrated development plan. While lagging behind larger cities in categories such as concentration of high-technology, Kunming has a high concentration of foreign retailers and is already home to four Carrefours, one B&Q, one Metro and three Wal-Marts. Kunming also boasts three Watson's outlets and a growing number of international fast food outlets such as McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut. Louis Vuitton recently opened an outlet in Kunming, one of 16 nationwide, in the luxury-focused Gingko Shopping Center in the city's center. Gingko is also home to outlets of high-end goods by Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel, Versace, Mont Blanc and Burberry. France-based luxury brand Hermes chose Gingko in Kunming as the location for its first mainland retail outlet two years ago. Luxury automobile companies are also making their presence felt in Kunming. Big names including Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Lexus and Porsche have dealerships in Kunming.

In 2006, Hong Kong-based property developer Shui On Land signed an agreement with the Kunming government in July related to a residential, business and cultural development covering 2.5 million square meters.

The area around Lake Dianchi, which is just southwest of the city's center, is currently witnessing a boom in high-end residential projects.

Kunming Import & Export Commodities Fair

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, previous each fair attracted about 4,000 to 6,000 overseas guests from around fifty countries. The accumulated contracts signed for trade and investment during the fairs are estimated about 25 billion US dollars. See also, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the main organizing body.

From the year 2008, China's Ministry of Commerce participated in hosting the fair for the first time with the stated goal of increasing the scale and quality of the fair.

Flower industry

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 (USD 300,000) from the 2 million sprays of flowers (as of 2006). The provincial government agency, the Flower Association, regulates the industry.

Chenggong, already a major source of fresh flowers in China has plans to emerge as the "Flower Hub of Asia". The county, 20 minutes drive from central Kunming has a flourishing flower trade: according to the Kunming Administration Public Information Service Web, Chenggong exported 812 tons of flowers to Singapore in year of 2007 with volume of trade clocking in at US$1,300,000.

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.

The "Kunming International Flower Exhibition" is now held every year. It is organized by the Government of Yunnan province and sponsored by Yunnan Flower Industry Office, CCPIT Yunnan branch and Yunnan EXPO Group.

Telecommunications

The city has a 2,460,000-line telephone switching system with 3,270,800 customers, averaging 57.3 phones for every 100 people.

The Yunnan Telecom Corporation Kunming Branch is a multiple high tech enterprise that is the main driver of tele communications in Kunming. Kunming Branch currently operates a modern fixed telephone network and with more than 1,000,000 subscribers and has 2,000,000 internet users. The data network has 5,000 of Netphone dial ports, and the outbound bandwidth of the Chinanet has reached 1.2G within this year. It operates the CHINAPAC, DDN, ATM/CHINA FR, and the computer internet, Multiedia Communication Network, IP broad band MAN based on the ATM broadband Technology that have covered the whole city, which can provide various services such as ISDN and ADSL. All of which give a strong support to the three online roll-out projects. The Kunming Branch has built up the IP broadband communication network based on IP over DWDM mode.

Wi-Fi

Kunming plans to be blanketed with Wi-Fi connectivity by the end of 2009 with the "Kunming Wi-Fi Metropolitan Area Network project". It would deploy more than 3 thousand access points in Kunming to provide the convenience and reliability of NonStop Wireless networking.

The first phase will enable Wi-Fi access along Kunming's main ring roads, important scenic spots, the central business district and some residential areas. Phases two and three will extend coverage to the entire Kunming prefecture area.

Logistics

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 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, Guangzhou, Guizhou and Sichuan, and onto the metropolitan district of Chongqing.These lines are currently being upgraded to carry double-stacked container wagons. In addition, there is a large shortage of rail cars suited for containers, and large volumes better suited to be transported in containers are still carried on flat-beds or general open wagon cars better suited to carrying bulk commodities.

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 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.

Utilities

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%.

Sustainable development

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.

The focus of the five pillar industries are the development of the tourism, tobacco, mineral and (hydro)power industries. Furthermore, as already mentioned, there's support for the development and improvement of green food, the horticultural sector and the biochemical industry.

20 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.

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.

Based on their experience, specialists from Zürich supported Kunming in the process of urban planning and development. Many Chinese specialists went to Zürich for technical visits or trainings, getting an insight into the management of an advanced modern European city. The dialogue between specialists has been an important experience for both partners, establishing a relationship of mutual trust over the years.

The cooperation has improved the water supply with the planning of modern drinking water treatment plants. It also led to a plan of protecting old buildings in the city. The solutions used in Kunming have, in the meantime, become a model in the People's Republic of China and are receiving attention beyond the provincial borders.

Eco-town

The INTEGER 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 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.

Public transportation

Traffic congestion has been a problem for residents in recent years in Kunming. Fifty years ago, the small city only had several hundred motor vehicles. The figure increased to almost 100,000 in the mid 1970s. Since the 1980s, the city has embarked on a fast development. Road construction has not kept up to pace with the increasing amount of traffic, though several projects at expanding and connecting roads are being implemented.

Kunming's then Vice-Mayor Li Jiang said the serious imbalance between the enormous amount of traffic and limited roads affected not only the city's economic and social development but also the residents' daily lives.

Several regulations being implemented are: 1. Rigorous driver training including retraining the driving teachers 2. Training the police to enforce new and existing driving and parking regulations 3. Train the police to drive in a completely law abiding manner. 4. Enforce traffic regulations on all vechicles, especially those with white license plates who routinely break laws. 5. Develop and enforce zoning laws that force property owners to provide adequate parking for cars, scooters, bicycles and delivery vehicles. 6. By implementing no. 5, eliminate the parking of bicycles and scooters on pedestrian sidewalks.

One major co-operation results in transportation sector was the Kunming Urban Public Transportation Master Plan. Several modern bus lanes were planned according to this plan, and the Bus Rapid Transport Systems (BRT) priority policy was put forward by Kunming Administration. The modern BRT can reach the carrying capacity and service level of rail traffic, but its construction and operation costs are much lower that of rail traffic, which makes it suitable for Kunming as a medium-sized city in China.

After establishing the BRT priority policy, Kunming built its first modern bus lane in April 1999, which marked the earliest practice of BRT in China. Today, four special bus lanes have been constructed and the basic layout of a cross-grid bus lane network is already in the place.

However, starting to promote BRT can't solve all transportation problems. Compared with world-class BRT systems, Kunming's BRT system still has a long way to go in improving carrying capacity and service level, to let the public see the expected effects of public traffic priority.

Meanwhile, the bus lane network is to be further expanded, to make the bus lanes reach the planned length of 63km. To achieve this target, more high-standard bus lanes are to be built, and to improve the city's existing bus lanes' operation and management levels as well. It has been suggested that the priorities in promoting BRT should be put into practice the new free-transfer ticket systems and optimize the bus route network.

Kunming recently has adopted prohibiting automobiles turning left policy. However, the responses to this measure are mixed. Wang Haihui, who is from the cities transportation department, said this measure alleviated road congestion situation and reduced passengers' time spent on the buses. But Yang Qing, Professor of Urban Planning at Kunming Ligong University, who drives a car everyday, complained the measure didn't have very obvious positive impact on his daily transit. How to solve the traffic jams has aroused public concerns. According to a random survey by the local television station, nearly 60 per cent Kunmingers attribute the traffic jams to a large increase in motor vehicles. He Dongquan, Director of Transportation Program of Energy Foundation, suggests that more people should take buses instead of driving cars in order to save road space.

According to Xinhua News Agency's report, a blueprint entitled Modern New Kunming is in the making. According to this plan, Kunming will be built into a city formed by four ecological areas with specific functions, favorable living environment, and convenient transportation.

Solar energy

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. It has the potential to generate 1500 kilowatt-hours of electricity 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.

Transportation

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.

Air

Kunming is served by an international airport, located 4-5 km southeast of central Kunming that have new international and domestic terminal buildings next to each other. Kunming has air connections with several Chinese and Southeast Asian cities. CAAC shuttle buses (¥5) serve passengers between the airport (Tuodong Lu) and the city center. Transport by taxi cost around 15 yuan and it takes about 20 minutes. Three public buses run on the route including No. 52, 67 and 78.

There are flights to most of China's major cities including Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin and Shanghai. International flights are to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Vientiane, Rangoon, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Osaka and Seoul. The airport has a few regional (provincial) connections including Dali, Lijiang, Zhongdian, Xishuangbana, Baoshan, Jinghong, Mangshi.

Flights from Kunming to: Baoshan (3 weekly; 30 min); Beijing (6 daily; 2 hr 35 min); Changsha (1 or 2 daily; 1 hr 30 min); Chengdu (6-9 daily; 1 hr 5 min); Chongqing (4-7 daily; 50 min); Dali (5 weekly; 30 min); Deqin (3 weekly; 2 hr); Guangzhou (5 daily; 1 hr 20 min); Guilin (1 or 2 daily; 1 hr 30 min); Guiyang (1 or 2 daily; 1 hr 10 min); Hefei (3 daily; 2 hr) Hong Kong (1 or 2 daily; 2 hr 45 min); Jinghong (3 daily; 55 min); Lijiang (4 weekly; 40 min); Mangshi (2 daily; 45 min); Nanning (2 daily; 50 min); Shanghai (2-3 daily; 2 hr 30 min); Xi'an (2-4 daily; 1 hr 40 min).

Airlines

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.

Other than China Eastern and Air China, Kunming Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Dragonair, JAL, Korean Air and Thai Airways International are the other main airlines that operate out of Kunming (see also Kunming Wujiaba International Airport).

Lucky Air is a bugdet airline based in Kunming and operates scheduled services from Dali to Kunming and Xishuangbanna, and plans to expand to other areas of China.

New airport

A new international airport in Kunming slated for completion by 2010 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 to be developed by Yunnan Airport Group. It will be able to handle 25 million passengers yearly, compared to the current capacity of 20 million at Kunming Wujiaba International Airport, which will remain operational until the switchover in 2010. The new airport is expected to handle 38 million every year by 2020 and 65 million passengers per year in 2035.

The new airport will have a 4,000 m long and 60 m wide runway, a 4,000 m long and 45 m wide runway; a 550,000 square meter terminal building; a 2,800 square-meter tower; and other supporting facilities including air traffic management and a fuel supply system.

The airport is projected to cost US$3 billion and its terminals will be housed in a pagoda-style structure and it will be partially solar powered. It is being designed by the UK-based design engineering consultancy Arup.

Rail

Several road and rail routes link Kunming to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, which provide Yunnan province access to seaports of Southeast Asia. The provincial rail network is limited - one down through the southeast to the Vietnamese border (via Hekou), and a line to Xiaguan, near Dali - though Kunming is well linked to the rest of the country via Sichuan and Guizhou.

Yunnan is connected with other parts of China mainly through the Guikun (Guiyang-Kunming), Chengkun (Chengdu-Kunming) and Nankun (Nanning-Kunming) railways.

Kunming has two railway stations:

  • Kunming Railway Station is at the southern end of Beijing Xi Lu. Compared with the other railway station (North Railway Station), Kunming Railway Station services most of the trains to places to other provinces of China. Trains run north to Chengdu, southeast via Xingyi to Baise and Nanning in Guangxi, and east through Guizhou, via Liupanshui, Anshun, Guiyang, into the rest of the country. Tickets are sold in three days in advance.
  • Kunming North Railway Station (serviced by the No. 23 Bus) is for routes to Hekou and Vietnam. Every Friday and Sunday, a train departs to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It takes about 16 hours to reach Hekou (a seat is ¥35, berths around ¥90), and 32 hours to Hanoi (hard sleeper lower bunk ¥175, upper bunk ¥235).

Trains from Kunming to: Beijing (daily; 48 hr); Chengdu (3 daily; 18-21 hr); Chongqing (2 daily; 23 hr); Guangzhou (2 daily; 45 hr); Guilin (2 daily; 30 hr); Guiyang (5 daily; 12 hr); Hanoi (daily; 28 hr); Hekou (1 daily; 16 hr); Kaiyuan (2 daily; 8 hr); Nanning (daily; 20 hr); Panzhihua (3 daily; 6 hr); Shanghai (2 daily; 60 hr); Xiaguan (daily; 8 hr); Xichang (3 daily; 12 hr).

Urban rail plan

Kunming is preparing to start construction on its first urban rail line, before the end of 2008, according to the Kunming Municipal Traffic Research Institute. According to the institute, the "Kunming Municipal High-Speed Rail Transportation Network Plan" has been completed by April 2008. The plan includes a total of six high-speed rail lines covering a total of 162 kilometers.

Pending governmental approval, phase one of the project will begin before the end of 2008. The first phase of the network, Line 1, will connect downtown Kunming with the university campuses in the south of Chenggong, a county that is in the northeast of Kunming Prefecture.

Shortly after approval is obtained and construction begins on Line 1, work is expected to begin on Line 2, which will connect Kunming's northern suburbs with the northern shore of Dianchi Lake in the south. The two areas boast some of the city's highest concentrations of wealth with the north shore of Dianchi to become more economically dynamic through developer Shui On Land's Caohai Urban North Shore project, which is expected to cover 87 hectares and feature commercial and residential space as well as museums, theaters, an amphitheater and an "artist's community".

Other proposed lines include:

  • Line 3: Ma Jie (west Kunming) to Liangmian Temple (east Kunming)
  • Line 4: High-tech Park (northwest Kunming) through downtown Kunming and Kunming ETDZ to Chenggong New Area Bailongtan
  • Line 5: World Horticultural Expo Gardens (northeastern Kunming) through downtown Kunming to Dianchi Holiday Area (southwestern Kunming)
  • Line 6: Downtown Kunming to New Airport

Construction of Line 1 is expected to cost as much as 32 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion), with each kilometer of above-ground light rail costing around 250 million yuan and each kilometer of underground subway expected to cost between 400 million and 800 million yuan. All rail lines within Erhuan Lu – Kunming's second ring road – will be underground.

Road

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.

  • South Bus Station faces the Kunming Railway Station in Beijing Xi Lu, with standard, luxury, express and sleeper buses departing for all over Yunnan and neighboring provinces. Buses depart here generally fall into three types: Regular, Faster, and Luxurious. A regular bus runs slower and usually the bus condition is not so good as the faster one. The standard bus to Jinghong takes 21 hours and costs ¥119, while a luxury bus takes 16 hours and costs ¥152. A luxury bus to Xiaguan (for Dali), which leaves hourly from 8am to 7pm, takes 4 hours (two less than the regular service) and costs ¥103, and one to Lijiang which takes only nine hours and costs ¥152. Other destinations covered by this include Zhongdian and Hekou (11 hours, ¥95).
  • Railway Square Bus Station is smaller than SBS and the majority of the buses depart from the station are private-run. Usually no fixed schedules are available and buses will leave when they are full. There are standard and sleeper services to Dali, Jinghong and elsewhere in Yunnan.

Buses from Kunming to: Anshun (24 hr); Baoshan (18 hr); Chengdu (36 hr); Chuxiong (6 hr); Dali (12 hr); Gejiu (5 hr); Guiyang (72 hr); Hekou (16 hr); Jianshui (5 hr); Jinghong (11 hr); Kaiyuan (5 hr); Lijiang (11 hr); Mangshi (22 hr); Nanning (72 hr); Panxian (12 hr); Ruili (24 hr); Shilin (3 hr); Tonghai (2 hr); Wanding (25 hr); Xiaguan (10 hr); Xichang (24 hr); Xingyi (13 hr).

Leaving China by road into Vietnam and Laos is also possible through the respective crossings at Hekou in southeastern Yunnan or Bian Mao Zhan in Xishuangbanna.

The Kunming-Bangkok Expressway is the first expressway from China to Bangkok via Laos. The 1,800 km long Kunming-Bangkok Exxpressway 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.

Local

Public buses and taxis are the two main means of transportation within the city. There is no metro/subway system (see Kunming#Rail).

Nearly two hundred public bus lines crisscross the city center, covering the whole prefecture. Prices are usually 1 yuan for a no air-conditioned and 2 yuan for air-conditioned.

Taxis are plenty with the starting price at ¥8 for the first three kilometer and ¥1.6 added for per extra km. After 10pm price rises to ¥9.6 for the first 3 km and ¥2.7 added to per extra km.

Cycling is common, and many hotels around the Kunming Railway Station provide bicycle rental services usually priced 2 yuan/hour and 10 yuan/day.

Conscious of its growing traffic issues, the city is currently renovating a pedestrian-friendly city centre.

Central Kunming

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 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.

Education, science and technology

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".

Colleges and universities

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor's degree programs are not listed.
See also List of colleges and universities in Yunnan and List of universities in the People's Republic of China.

Management training

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 and 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 – capital of Heilongjiang province in China's northeast – 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.

Research institutes

  • Solar Energy Research Institute of Yunnan Normal University
  • Kunming Municipal Planning and Design Research Institute

Chinese Academy of Sciences

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 was 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: Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Xishuanbanna Tropical Botanic Garden, Yunnan Observatory and Institute of Geochemistry in Guiyang. 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 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 south-east Asia 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, co-educate 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.

At present, Kunming Branch is preparing the establishment of the "Biodiversity National Lab" with Yunnan Province.

Libraries

Health

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% of total medical health care services by 2012 within Kunming City.

Hospitals

  • Yunnan Provincial Red Cross Hospital and Emergency Center, is the main general hospital in Kunming.
  • Yunnan Provincial First People's Hospital
  • First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medial College
  • Kunming Mental Hospital, founded in 1955, houses over 400 patients.
  • Kunming Physical Rehabilitation Center

HIV-AIDS

In late 2006, China's first provincial-level HIV/AIDS treatment center has built. The US$17.5 million center is located 28 km 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.The center cooperates with many of the NGOs in Kunming that are focused on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. These organizations are working with provincial and local officials to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among high-risk groups and prevent crossover into lower-risk groups.

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.

See also: HIV/AIDS in Yunnan, HIV/AIDS in the People's Republic of China

Further reading: "Modeling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Injecting Drug Users and Sex Workers in Kunming, China", Bulletin of Mathematical Biology Volume 68, Number 3 / April, 2006; Nicolas Bacaër, Xamxinur Abdurahman and Jianli Ye

Public security

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.

Drug trafficking

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, 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.

Diplomatic representation

The following countries have a diplomatic mission in Kunming:

Trade offices:

Twinnings

Kunming has partnership agreements with the following cities:

People

People from Kunming include:

Diplomats:

National Southwestern Associated University:

See also

Fictional depiction

References

Further reading

External links

Travel

Maps and weather

News

Media

Transportation

Digital city concept

Search another word or see space rateon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature