Tonghai County lies on the south-central Yunnan Province, between 102°30′60″ E and 102°52′53″ E, and 23°55′11″ N and 24°14′49″ N, with a total area of 721 square kilometers. It is 125 kilometers from Kunming, and 47 kilometers from Hongta District. It governs 2 sub-districts, 7 townships, 44 village committees, 27 community neighborhood committees, and 360 natural villages. Its permanent residents amount t 310,000 and registered population 285,000. About 29 nationalities reside in the county, including Han, Yi, Hui, Monggu, Dai, and Hani. The ethnic population is about 46,000, taking up 16.1%.
The county is surrounded by mountains and lakes with agreeable climate. The topography of the county consists of basin, mountains, and valley. The basin area takes up 24.7%, mountainous area 77.07%, and valley 1.3%. The elevation is between 1,350 and 2,443, with Mabo being the lowest and Luofeng Mountain the highest. One of the four famous mountains in the provincial history Xiushan and one of the nine plateau lakes in the province Qilu Lake are in its territory, adding more charm to its scenery. The forest area is 543,000 acres and the coverage rate is 51.5%. The water area is 4,600 hectares. The total capacity of surface water is 71.7 million cubic meters and underground water 27.54 million cubic meters. The annual average temperature is 16.4℃. The annual rainfall is 907 mm. The sunshine duration is 2510.8 hours. It belongs to central-Asia tropical semi-moist plateau cool-winter monsoon climate and the weather is like spring all year round.
The county has long history and wonderful culture. It is proud of its history, ethnic and religious traditions, rich culture, and beautiful nature. It has attracted numerous people of all walks in history and today. Mongolians came to Yunnan and resided in Tonghai 760 years ago and have established unique southern Mongolian culture. Na Xun from the county translated the Arabian Nights and promoted Islamic culture. The beautiful nature has nurtured its splendid history, rich ethnic customs, and Dongjing Music. It has received many titles such as Historic City of Yunnan, Best Relic Protection County of China, and Home to Chinese Traditional Poetry.
Many business people gathers in the county and commercial activities are vigorous. The county has rich resources and its agriculture, light handicraft industries and commerce have been booming since ancient times. It has long enjoyed the fame Junior Yunnan and Junior Kunming and has been listed by the provincial departments as piloting county for county economic development, demonstration county for non-polluted vegetable planting, demonstration county for plateau characteristic agriculture, and characteristic zone of hardware and mechatronics. In recent years, the county has put forward the strategy of relying on ecology, industry, agriculture, culture, and tourism to strengthen the steady development of the county. It has established hardware manufacturing, color printing and packaging, and food processing as its three pillar industries, tobacco, vegetable, flower, and livestock farming as its four major planting and breeding industry, and cultural tourism, trading and logistics as backbones of its modern service industry. In 2014, the county realized GDP 7.95 billion yuan, total financial revenue 770 million yuan, local financial revenue 500 million yuan, retail sales of consumer goods 2.39 billion yuan, above-scale fixed asset investment 2.79 billion yuan, per capita disposable income of urban residents 27,062 yuan, and per capita disposable income of rural residents 11,476 yuan.
The county has advanced transportation network. It was the political, economic and military center in ancient times and important courier station in Han Dynasty and Tang Dynasty. The county served as Tonghai Military Governor in Tang Dynasty, Xiushan County in Song Dynasty, and Duyuan General Mansion in Yuan Dynasty to administrate today’s Honghe and Wenshan, and even the border with Vietnam. In the middle and late Ming Dynasty, its economy was booming, making it a trading center of Southern Yunnan. With the progresses made in the bridgehead strategy of the province opening up to the southeast, establishment of the economic circle in central Yunnan, Kunming-Yuxi integration, and Yuxi-Mengzi section of Pan-Asia railway, and the construction of Mile-Yuxi-Chuxiong highway and Jinning-Jiangchuan-Jianshui highway, Tonghai County will be turned into an international hardware and mechatronics industrial base, goods distribution center, safety demonstration base of exporting agricultural products, and also a county with vigorous economic development, harmonious society, and beautiful scenery, ideal for living and working.