The term describes Indochina in a broader sense, the mainland areas of Southeast Asia, south of China and east of the Indian subcontinent. It was designed by the Danish- French geographer Conrad Malte -Brun (1775-1826) first used in his 1810 published work in Paris " Précis de la Géographie Universelle". Thus, the dominant cultural influence of India and China should be expressed on the peoples and countries of continental Southeast Asia.

In the political sense Indochina included the territories of present-day countries Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, from 1887 as the " Union Indochinoise " - were incorporated into the French colonial empire - " French Indochina ".

In geography, the term has been retained as the name of the Indochinese Peninsula.

Indochina is still used in biogeography for an ecoregion, which includes part of the Orientalis ( Indomalayis ), or in the plant geography of a region of the piles Empire Paläotropis.

Politically and culturally, instead of Indochina in a broader sense (that is next to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and Thailand and Myanmar, sometimes the peninsular part of Malaysia and the extreme south of China ) today rather from the " mainland Southeast Asia ", " mainland Southeast Asia " or " Continental Southeast Asia " ( to english Mainland Southeast Asia) spoke.