People’s Republic of China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region)  

Quick Facts

Yunnan Province
Population 48 million (2017)
GDP at PPP (current international dollars) 466 billion (2017)
GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars) 9,700 (2017)
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Population 56 million (2017)
GDP at PPP (current international dollars) 575 billion (2017)
GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars) 10,194 (2017)

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The southern parts of the People’s Republic of China that are part of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are rich in agriculture. The Yunnan region produces rice, corn, barley, wheat, rapeseed, sweet potatoes, soybeans, tea and other crops, as well as livestock. Because the area is mountainous, Yunnan is also home to spectacular rice terraces. The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is similarly blessed with a wide variety of agricultural products, including oranges, rice, beans, corn, cassava, cinnamon, bananas, vegetables, durian, pineapples, and tea, as well as livestock. Both areas trade products and expertise with their GMS neighbors.

The PRC has established itself as a leader in the development of renewable energy, and the GMS member areas of Yunnan and Guangxi are no exception. Hydropower, wind and solar projects operate in the areas. The two regions also benefit from the rural electrification programs of the national Government, and share renewable energy expertise with their GMS partners.

Yunnan and Guangxi are rich ecological areas with much to contribute to the GMS environment sector. Guangxi is mountainous, with a diverse range of plant life. More than a third of Yunnan is forested, twice the average of other regions in the PRC. Yunnan has more species of tropical, subtropical, temperate, and frigid-zone plants than anywhere else in the country. Both areas are seeking sustainable management of their environments in coordination with their GMS partners.

The Chinese regions of the GMS have been active participants in human resource development. Yunnan and Guangxi have conducted cross-border health cooperation programs, and short-term training courses in numerous fields. Government scholarships have also been offered to GMS students, and a great number of educational exchanges have been held. Yunnan and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also cooperate with their GMS partners on migration issues, the protection of women and indigenous groups, and youth development.

Yunnan and Guangxi have in recent years upgraded their telecommunication connections with Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam. Work is also underway to expand Internet links to Thailand.

The two Chinese regions of GMS are home to a vast array of popular tourism sites, not only for domestic tourism, but also for visitors from surrounding GMS countries. Guangxi, for example, is a top destination for visitors from Viet Nam. In Yunnan, tourism infrastructure is being developed with a focus on community participation. Both Guangxi and Yunnan are developing meeting and convention tourism that draws visitors from GMS countries.

Trade between neighboring GMS countries and the Yunnan and Guangxi regions of PRC has grown exponentially in the last ten years. Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand are top trading partners of Yunnan, and comprise a significant proportion of their trade. Yunnan and Guangxi have coordinated on enhancing cross-border trade with their GMS neighbors, and have acted as a gateway to greater trade with the PRC.

In the area of transport, Yunnan and Guangxi have played an important role in the development of road networks, and economic corridors, that bind the Greater Mekong Subregion together. This includes the Yunnan Expressway (Chuxiang–Dali), and the Southern and Western Yunnan roads. The expansion of rail services has also been a key aspect of Yunnan and Guangxi’s contribution to transport in the subregion. The Singapore-Kunming rail project is another important link in the GMS transport system.

ADB and PRC: Fact Sheet

Cambodian Mango Traders Receive Customs Approval to Export Directly to PRC

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has allowed Cambodia to export fresh mangoes directly to its market after the PRC’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) certified 37 mango plantations and five packaging factories as compliant with phytosanitary and packaging standards on 26 April. GACC experts from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region held a virtual inspection of mango plantations and steam treatments plants on 10 March.  

GMS in the News

An aerial rendering of the SDZ. Photo by the Yunnan Provincial Overseas Investment Co. Ltd.

PRC, Lao PDR Jointly Developing a Low-carbon Demonstration Zone

The Vientiane Saysettha Development Zone (SDZ) is being developed into a low-carbon demonstration model by the Lao-China Joint Venture Investment Co., Ltd. (LCJV). Low carbon demonstration zones hope to address climate change and green and low-carbon transition, and boost regional cooperation with the PRC. 

GMS in the News

Durian being sold in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Sitoo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PRC Opens Dongxing Border Gate for Thailand’s Fruits

The General Administration of Customs of the PRC (GACC) has opened the Dongxing border gate in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to facilitate fruit imports from Thailand on 29 April 2021. Thailand’s Department of Agriculture expects this to lead to a significant rise in the export of durian to the PRC.  

GMS in the News

Representative image only. Photo by Xinhua/Chen Yehua via Global Times

First Phase of the China-Thailand High Speed Rail Underway

A planned 873-kilometer China-Thailand High Speed Rail will connect Bangkok, Thailand, to Kunming city in Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China (PRC). On 29 March, transportation authorities from the Government of Thailand and construction firms from the PRC signed the construction agreement for the first phase of the railway.  

GMS in the News

New PRC-Viet Nam Cross-border Rail Freight Service Launched

A new cross-border rail freight service from Suzhou, People’s Republic of China (PRC), to Hanoi, Viet Nam was launched by the East Asia Region section of Nippon Express. Suzhou West Railway Station is located amid industrial clusters of eastern PRC.  

The use of rail transport makes possible reliable lead times of 8-10 days. Ocean freight from PRC to Southeast Asia is usually challenged with constraints in space and reliable transport routes and schedule.  

GMS in the News

Transmission tower in Lao PDR. Photo by IG (CC BY 2.0).

Lao PDR Signs Concession Agreement with Electricity Joint Venture

The Government of Lao PDR and the Electricite du Laos Transmission Company Limited (EDL-T), the joint venture between China Southern Power Grid and Electricite du Laos of the Lao PDR, have signed a Concession Agreement on 11 March. The agreement states that EDL-T will serve as the country's national power grid operator under the supervision of the Government of Lao PDR. It will invest, construct, and operate power grids (230 kilovolts and above), and implement grid interconnection projects between Lao PDR and its neighbors.  

GMS in the News

Guangxi Province Releases Action Plan to Promote Marine Economy

The General Office of the People's Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China released a “Three Year Action Plan for Guangxi to Accelerate the Development of Xianghai Economy and Promote the Construction of a Strong Ocean Region (2020-2022)” on 29 September. The Action Plan proposes the (i) development of large-scale, intensive, and sustainable offshore wind power resources, and (ii) construction of an offshore wind industrial value chain, with offshore wind industry clusters and industrial parks.

GMS in the News

ADB to Help Improve Water Resources of River Basin in Yunnan, PRC

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan to clean up water resources and the environment of the Sayu River Basin in Yunnan Province, the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Sayu River Basin is an important area for ecological protection in the upper Yangtze River Basin. It is the only centralized drinking water source in Zhaotong City in Yunnan.

GMS in the News