Categories: Asia | Economics
This article is in need of attention.
Please see its listing on Pages needing attention and
The economy of Asia comprises more than 4,000,750,000 people (60% of the world population), living in 46 different states. In addition to this there are six further states that lie partly in Asia, but are considered to belong to another continent economically and politically.
As in all continents, the wealth of Asia differs widely between, and within, states. This is due to its vast size, meaning a huge range of differing cultures, environments, historical ties and government systems. The largest economy in Asia in terms of GDP is Japan, the smallest Mongolia, (although there is currently no reliable data for either Iraq or North Korea). This demonstrates the huge disparity in wealth on the continent, with Japan being the world's second largest economy, and North Korea being one of the poorest.
3.1 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
3.2 Association of Southeast Asian Nations
3.3 Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement
3.4 Commonwealth of Independent States
3.5 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
3.6 South Asia Free Trade Agreement (proposed)
5.1 Primary Sector
5.2 Secondary Sector
5.3 Tertiary Sector
to be completed - dates taken from European version, need to be changed to reflect major economic changes in Asia
Asia was relatively rich in the ancient times. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east. The Silk Road became the main east-west trading route in the Asian hitherland while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. In the Straits of Malacca, Malacca established itself as an important port in Asia.
Prior to the Second World War, most of Asia was under colonial rule. Only relatively few managed to stay independent despite constant pressure from many European powers.
Japan in particular managed to develop its economy thanks to reformation done in the 19th century. The reformation was comprehensive and is today known as the Meiji Restoration. The Japanese economy continued to grow well into the 20th century. Their ever increasing economy created various shortage of resources essential to the economic growth. As a result, the Japanese expansion began and a great part of Korea and China were annexed and thus, allowing the Japanese to secure strategic resources.
At the same time, Southeast Asia was prospering due to trade and the introduction of various new technologies of that time. The volume of trade continued to increase with the opening of the Suez Canal in the 1860s. Singapore, founded in 1819 rose to prominence as trade between the east and the west increased at an incredible rate. The British colony of Malaya, now part of Malaysia, was the world's largest producer of tin and rubber. The Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia on the other hand was known for its spices production. Both the British and the Dutch created their own trading companies to manage their trade flow in Asia. The British created the British East India Company while the Dutch formed Dutch East India Company. Both companies maintained trade monopoly of their respective colonies.
In 1908, crude oil was first discovered in Persia, modern day Iran. Afterwards, many oil fields were discovered and it was learnt later that the Mideast prosesses the world's largest oil stock. This made the rulers of the Arab nations very rich though the socioeconomic development in that region lagged behind.
In the early 1930s, the world underwent a global economic depression, today known as the Great Depression. Asia was not spared and suffered the same pain as Europe and the United States. The volume of trade decreased dramatically all around Asia and indeed the world. With falling demand, prices of various goods starting to fall and further impoverished the locals and foreigners alike. In 1941, Japan invaded Malaya and hence, begun the Second World War in Asia.
During these years, mainland China and India, which account for half of the population of Asia, adopted socialist policies. These policies limited the economic growth of this region. In contrast, the economies of Japan and the four East Asian Tigers were economic success stories and the only successful economies outside of North America and Western Europe. Wars driven by the Cold War, notably in Vietnam and Afganistan, wrecked the economies of these respective nations.
In recent years, Asia has become of ever increasing importance to the global economy. Throughout the 1990's the continents manufacturing ability and cheap labour markets allowed Asian companies to establish themselves in many of the industries previously dominated by Western companies. Asia became one of the largest sources of automobiles, machinery, audio equipment and other electronics.
In 2004, the continent's economy was severly damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which wiped out hugh amounts of infastructure throughout the south east of the continent and displaced millions. The economic ramifications continue to be felt in the region with huge investment required by already cash-strapped governments.
to be completed
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a group of Pacific Rim countries who meet with the purpose of improving economic and political ties. There are currently 22 members.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political, economic, and cultural organization of countries located in Southeast Asia. Founded in 1967, its aim is to foster cooperation and mutual assistance among members. The countries meet annually every November in summits.
The current member countries of ASEAN are Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Indonesia. Papua New Guinea is given an observer status.
ASEAN contains a few of the fastest growing countries in the world.
The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) is an economic agreement between the People's Republic of China and both the Hong Kong SAR government (signed on 29 June 2003), and the Macau SAR government (signed on 18 October, 2003), in order to promote trade and investment facilitation.
The main aims of CEPA are to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barrier on substantially all the trade in goods between the three, and achieve liberalization of trade in services through reduction or elimination of substantially all discriminatory measures.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a confederation consisting of 12 of the 15 states of the former Soviet Union, both Asian and European, (the exceptions being the three Baltic states). Although the CIS has few supranational powers, it is more than a purely symbolic organization and possesses coordinating powers in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking and security. The most significant issue for the CIS is the establishment of a full-fledged free trade zone / economic union between the member states, to be launched in 2005. It has also promoted cooperation on democratisation and cross-border crime prevention.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an association of 7 countries of South Asia, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These countries comprise an area of 4 480 000 km² and a fifth of the population of the world.
SAARC encourages cooperation in agriculture, rural development, science and technology, culture, health, population control, narcotics control and anti-terrorism.
The South Asia Free Trade Agreement is an agreement reached at the 12th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit. It creates a framework for the creation of a free trade zone covering 1.4 billion people in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives.
Below is a list of the currencies of Asia, including all fully Asian states plus Russia, with exchange rates between each currency and both the Euro and US Dollars as of 9th December 2004.
Table correct as of 9th December 2004 (see  http://www.xe.com/ucc/full.shtml for latest
The Asian continent is by a considerably margin the largest in the world, and is rich in natural resources. The vast expanse of former Soviet Union, particularly that of Russia contains a huge varity of metals, such as - gold, iron, lead, titanium, uranium, and zinc. These metals are mined, but not in an efficient manner due to continued use of poorly maintained, obsolute machinery left over from the communist era. Despite the inefficency of the mining industry, profits are high due to a commodity price boom in 2003/2004 caused largly by increased demand in China. Oil is perhaps Asias most important natural resource. The middle eastern nations of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait are rich in oil reserves and have benifited from recent oil price escalations. Asia is home to some four billion people, and thus has a well established tradition in Agriculture. Due to the high population density of many countries such as Bangladesh, China, Cambodia,India and Vietnam, agriculture constitutes a high portion of land usage. Many hillsides are farmed in a terrace method to boost arable land. The main agricultural products in Asia include Rice, Grain, and Chicken. One of Asia's major cash crops is Opium, which is sold in Europe and North America. Opium production is one of the princial economic activities in Central Asia - particularly in Afghanistan and a major employer. Forestry is estensive throughout the continent, with many of the items of furniture sold in the Western World made out of Asian timber. Fishing is a major source of food in Asia, particularly in Japan and China.
The manufacturing sector in Asia has traditionally been strongest in the South East region - particularly in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. The industry varies from manufacturing cheap low value goods such as toys to high-tech added value goods such as computers, CD players, Games Consoles and Cars. Major Asian manufacturing companies include Sony, Samsung, LG, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Many western firms from Europe and North America have significant operations in Asia to take avantage of the continents abundant supply of cheap labour. One of the major employers in manufacturing in Asia is the textile industry. Much of the world's supply of clothing and footwear now originates in Southeast Asia - particularly in Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Asia has three main financial centers. They are located in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. Call centers are becoming major employers in India due to the availablity of many well educated English speakers.
States which lie partly in Asia but are considered, in an economic and political sense, to be European:
States which lie partly in Asia but are considered, in an economic and political sense, to be African: