Pinyin Simao, formerly Fu-hsing-chen, town in southern Yunnan sheng (province), China. It is situated in a small basin among mountains some 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in elevation, 19 miles (30 km) south of P'u-erh, the former centre of the Yunnanese tea trade. Ssu-mao was already a minor town in the 14th century. It was given administrative status as a subprefecture in the 19th century and became a county town in 1912. It was then an important trading centre on the routes to Burma (Myanmar) and Laos. It was opened as a treaty port for trade with the French in Indochina in 1895 and with Burma in 1896 and subsequently had a brief period of modest prosperity. The opening of the railway from Haiphong in Indochina to K'un-ming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, in 1910 took away all of its trade, except that with Burma, to which it exported lead, tin, tea, and camphor, and its population shrunk. Reputed as one of the most unhealthy places in Yunnan, it suffered in the 1940s from various epidemics and from the plague. In 1950 it was largely deserted, and much of the surrounding basin was also abandoned. After 1953, however, when the road from K'un-ming to southwestern Yunnan replaced the old mule trains, it again became an important regional commercial centre, distributing goods imported from K'un-ming and collecting local products, such as tea, camphor, and sisal. The town also has a small power station and some rice mills. Pop. (mid-1980s est.) 10,00050,000.
Meaning of SSU-MAO in English
Britannica English vocabulary. Английский словарь Британика. 2012