"At least 150 people were killed," Xinhua said. The quake hit at 4.30pm (3.30pm Thailand time) at a depth of 12 kilometres in the province's northeast, with more than 1,300 injured, according to other state media.
Yunnan province's information bureau says at least 120 of the dead were in densely populated Ludian county, with another 180 missing and 1,300 people injured there. Yunnan's seismological bureau says another 24 people died and more than 100 were injured in Qiaojia county.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years.