It borders with Burma in the northwest with a boundary line of 151 kilometres long. It is 750 kilometres away from the provincial capital Kunming and 160 kilometers westward from Baoshan city.
The population is aproximately 620,000.
Tengchong is one of the earliest developed regions in SW China. In the Western Han Dynasty , it belonged to Yizhoujun Prefecture. In the and Dynasties, a contemporary prefecture governed by a local chieftain was set up. In the Yuan Dynasty , Tengyue Prefecture was instituted. In the following dynasties, different administrative offices were set up. In 1913, Tengchong was made a county. In history, it occupied an important position on the Southwestern Silk Route. The Sichuan cloth and bamboo sticks available at the markets in Bactria were brought there from the ancient Bonan Route through Tengchong. From the Ming Dynasty on, large numbers of Tengchong people went abroad to trade and seek a livelihood.The city grew wealthy from trade with Burma and South East Asia due to its proximity to Mandalay across the Burmese border. At one point the forces in British-occupied Burma established a trading post in the town with hopes of generating wealth through trade with China.
Tengchong's industry and handicraft work were fostered during the and Dynasties, nearly 400 years ago. Factories and workshops were set up first by importing equipment from abroad. Earlier products included textile goods, leather, soaps, battery, cigarettes, matches, etc. They found market in West Yunnan and Burma and Southeast Asian countries. Since the founding of the People's Republic, a more complete industrial system was formed, comprising 32 departments like power generating, metallurgy, machinery, paper making, textile industry, matches production, pharmacy, tanning, chemical industry, sugar refining, tea leaves refining, food processing, etc. The major products include refined tin, pig iron, crude lead, timber, plywood, cement, refractory, diatomite filtration promoter, sulphuric acid, caustic soda, hydrochlorite potassium chlorate, calcium phdrogen phosphate, paper, canesugar, refined tea leaves, preserved fruits, edible oil, matches, Chinese medicine, etc. The matches, Chinese medicine, refined tin, refined tea leaves and the "xuanzhi" enjoy high reputation abroad.
In agriculture, Tengchong produces grain and oil crops, tobacco, tea leaves, sugarcane, etc. The production of tobacco has a history of more than 400 years. Tengchong tobacco, cultivated on the volcanic mountain slopes is of excellent quality and therefore used as a blend. The Chuanlong tea leaves and large-sized tea leaves sell particularly well.
Tengchong is known for its jade culture and for its geothermal springs and the Lisu ethnic group. The city has actually grown into the biggest processing and trade center of jadeite in Southeast Asia. While you can find some craftsmen processing jadeite at the huge jadeite market, to get a taste of the local culture, visit the Hehua Township near the city. At the Hehua Township near the city there are craftsmen processing jadeite at the huge jadeite market. Du Maosheng is the chairman of the Tengchong Jewelry and Jade Association.
The county abounds in geothermal energy. There are over 80 steaming fountain hot streams and boiling fountains. Ten of them spout hot water of 90 C and upward. Natural resources are plentiful. The are over 2,000 higher plants. Among the economic and timber forests, there are forests of oil tea, catalpa, common China-fir, Armandi pine, walnut. The percentage of forest cover reaches 34.6% of the county. Ornamental and medicinal plants exist in great quantities. The blossoms of the rhododendrons on Gaoligongshan Mountain are exceptionally large. The Gaoligong Nature Reserve, renowned as a natural botanical garden, has over 1,400 species of higher plants, many rare and precious animals and medicinal plants. The area is the origin of ''R. giganteum'' forest at Tagg and Yunnan camellia.
Mineral resources include iron, tin, lead, zinc, wolfram, uranium, diatomite, rock crystal. Wollastonite, lignite, and others.
The climate of Tengchong belongs to a subtropical, mountainous type. The annual temperature averages 14.7 C and the rainfall 1,425 mm. Generally speaking, the climate is mild.
The area of Tengchong county is 5,693 square kilometres.
Situated at the southwestern end of the Hengduan Mountains, Tengchong topographically assumes the form of a horseshoe with the opening facing the south. The eastern most sources of the Irrawaddy issue from the high mountains in the north. The Longchuanjiang, Dayinjiang and Binlangjiang Rivers rise from among the fault mountainsides in the county. The highest point is the summit of Mount Danaozi of Gaoligongshan Mountain, 3,780.2 m above sea level and the lowest point, 930 m above sea level, is in the Suqingjiang valley. The elevation of the county seat is 1,640 m.
The crustal movement in the county is active and earthquakes are frequent. The volcanoes on Dayingshan, Shitoushan, the Greater Heikongshan, the Lesser Heikongshan Mountains erupted repeatedly. The county seat is surrounded by a group of young volcanoes.
Tengchong is 760 km from Kunming. Bus and flights are both available to and from Kunming.
A new airport in Tengchong is expected to be in service at the end of 2008. The airport is to be located at Tuofeng village, 12 kilometers from Tengchong County. A highway leading to the airport is being built. In memory of the Hump Route, an air route which contributed much to the victory in the west Yunnan theater during the war against Japan, Tengchong airport will be named ‘Hump Airport. The road to the airport will be named the ‘Flying Tigers Road’ in memory of the American pilots who flew the route. The total investment in the airport is to be around RMB430 million . The major investors of the project are the Yunnan Airports Group, Yunnan Guangfang Group and Tengchong government who will contribute at a proportion 46 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent respectively.
*Sujiahekou Hydropower Station
For 2005, the county received 3.3 million tourists, with the majority of them visitors from within the province.
Various traditional villages around the town have been developed as tourist attractions, and feature impressive architecture that was built with wealth from multi-generational trading families who sent children to Burma. A large but seasonal fresh water wetland to the north attracts bird-watchers and nature-lovers, and tourists also visit a commercially developed volcanic park to the south.
The famous local products include jade articles, Chinese medicine, 'xuanzhi" paper, dried rice noodles, tea oil, small hats of split bamboo, preserved vegetables, articles of rattan work, etc.
Conservation Carbon Project
was set up by Conservation International, Nature Conservancy and Yunnan Forestry Department to restore forests and create sustainable livelihoods in the county.