Economy and resources
Asian business is characterized by major differences.
Several countries, such as China, India, Japan, Taiwan,
South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and also
petroleum-rich countries in the Middle East are among the
richest and most developed in the continent.
According to the International Monetary Fund (2012), Asia
has four of the world's ten richest countries in terms of
GDP : China (2), India (3), Japan (4) and Russia (6). Asia
also has four of the world's ten richest countries in terms
of GDP per capita: Qatar (1), Singapore (3), Brunei (5) and
Hong Kong (6).
In sharp contrast are several countries belonging to the
world's poorest: The poorest countries in Asia measured in
GDP are: Bhutan (156 out of 182 countries), East Timor
(144), Kyrgyzstan (137), Mongolia (133), Laos (126)). The
poorest countries in Asia in terms of GDP per capita are:
Afghanistan (161 out of 180), Nepal (160), East Timor (155),
Bangladesh (151) and Tajikistan (143).
In Asia, twice as many are extremely poor as in the rest
of the world. See
AbbreviationFinder.org for further information. The number of poor people has increased in
recent years due to population increase, but the percentage
has decreased. Today, two-thirds of the world's poor still
live in Asia.
Agriculture is the main industry for most Asians,
especially in China and South and Southeast Asia. The
operating methods are often old-fashioned. In many places,
especially in Southeast Asia, rice is the most important
agricultural product, and Asia accounts for more than 90
percent of the world's rice production. Most wheat is grown
in the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and
Nearly four-fifths of world tea production takes place in
Asia. 90 percent of all rubber (raw natural rubber) comes
from Asia, especially Indonesia. Other important
agricultural products are coconuts, cotton, sugar cane,
tobacco, soybeans, fruits and vegetables. Because of the
land area, it is mostly produced in China and India.
Animal husbandry plays a modest role in most places, but
there is large breeding of horses, sheep and goats
especially in Western and Central Asia where there are
nomadic cultures based on livestock.
Most of the conifer production takes place in Russia,
while it is the largest production of hardwood, such as
teak, in South and Southeast Asia. Drastic forest cutting is
a major problem in many Asian countries. Locally, bamboo has
Opium is an important source of revenue in Central and
Southeast Asia, especially in Afghanistan, although
production is banned everywhere.
The largest fishing nations are Japan (the world's second
largest), Indonesia, China and Thailand.
Asia has large mineral deposits and almost all important
minerals. About 60 percent of the world's oil and natural
gas reserves are in Asia. The largest deposits are found in
the Persian Gulf, where Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait are major producers, as well as in
Siberia and Indonesia.
There are rich iron ore deposits in Russia, China and
India, and these countries also have some of the world's
largest deposits of manganese. Malaysia is the world's
largest producer of tin. There are rich deposits of chromium
and nickel in Russia and of tungsten in China.
Most countries in South and East Asia have undergone
extensive industrialization since the late 1960s, but in
several Asian countries, shortages of raw materials, energy
and capital hinder industrial development.
Japan has long been the world's largest industrialized
country (after the United States), but has left much of the
process industry to low-cost countries such as South Korea,
China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong
Kong. The economy in these countries is called the "tiger
economies" and they had very rapid economic growth except
for a downturn during the transient "Asian crisis" in
1997-98. Since the mid-1990s, China has experienced the
world's fastest industrial growth and has attracted large
foreign investment. Since 2000, India has been a major
exporter of software and other information technology. There
are large shipyards in Japan, China and South Korea, among
Many automakers are based in South Korea and Japan, and
have sub-divisions in countries such as Taiwan, the
Philippines and Malaysia, which have cheaper labor. Large
production of cheap goods from toys to high-tech products is
also based here. Much of the world's clothing and footwear
production takes place in China, India, Vietnam, Thailand,
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Asia has seven major financial centers; These are located
in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Shanghai, Bangalore
and Mumbai. Other financial centers are growing. Much
indicates that the center of the world's financial activity
is moving towards "Chinindia", a common term for China and
India. China had the world's second largest economy in 2010,
when it passed Japan's.