It has a population of 299,000, of whom 156,000 belong to ethnic minorities, including Yi, Zhuan, Miao, and Hui.
The maximum sea level of Kaiyuan is 2,775.6 meters and the minimum is 950 meters. The annual average temperature is 19.9 degrees Celsius.
Kaiyuan is thought highly of in the field of traditional martial arts, and held the first Chinese Traditional Martial Arts Festival in 2006.
Kaiyuan is a long-established industrial city, which has been paying much attention to its environment problems. Its aim is "to construct an affluent city with an ecological industrial base". Kaiyuan is also home to the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
With the approval of central government, Yunnan is establishing an experimental zone for private small businesses at Kaiyuan.