Shan State is a state of Myanmar (Burma). Shan State borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south, and five administrative divisions of Myanmar in the west. Largest of the 14 administrative divisions by land area, Shan State covers 155,800 kmē, almost a quarter of the total area of Myanmar. The state gets its name from the Shan people, one of several ethnic groups that inhabit the area. Shan State is largely rural, with only three cities of significant size: Lashio, Kengtung, and the capital, Taunggyi.
Shan State, with many ethnic groups, is home to several armed ethnic armies. While the military government has signed ceasefire agreements with most groups, vast areas of the state, especially those east of Thanlwin river, remain outside the central government's control, and in recent years have come under heavy ethnic-Chinese economic and political influence, whereas other areas are under the control of military groups such as the Shan State Army.