The population of Yunnan is 45 million and the GDP reached 722.1 Billion RMB in 2010, though Yunnan’s economy is one of the most underdeveloped in China with about 7 million people living under the poverty line. Yunnan’s pillar industries are tobacco, agriculture, mining and tourism. The geographic location of Yunnan poses advantages for international trade with Burma, Laos and Vietnam, and Yunnan possesses a wealth of natural resources that are beneficial for this.
The main exports are tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment, chemical and agricultural products and non-ferrous metals.
There are many government-led initiatives to reduce poverty through soil improvement, electric power infrastructure, road development, and “green belt” building. Most travelers will notice the profusion of solar panels making Yunnan one of the biggest user of alternative energy.