Asia Financial level
On the basis of e.g. GDP per population, the countries can be divided into three economic levels: rich, middle-income and poor countries.
The rich countries have “European level”; this applies to the most heavily industrialized countries and the oil countries. Among the first are Japan, Israel and the so-called NIC countries (Newly Industrialized Countries) such as Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore (“the little tigers”). They have all developed an extensive industry. The production apparatus is modern with widespread automation, well-trained workforce, and it is supported by research. A large part of the employment is in the service sector. This development can be found in selected industrial areas in India, China etc.
- Countryaah: Introduces Asia as a continent, includes a full list of countries in Asia, and provides location map of Asia.
The oil countries include the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran) as well as Brunei. The vast majority of these countries’ revenues come from huge oil production: the Gulf states alone cover a quarter of world production and a large share of world trade.
The middle-income countries, Turkey, Thailand and some of the former Soviet republics (e.g. Uzbekistan, Armenia and Georgia), are predominantly agricultural countries that have developed some industries. The same applies to a certain extent to, for example, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Countries such as Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Kazakhstan also belong to this group. The majority of the industry in these countries produces groceries for the domestic market with simple, often old-fashioned technology and large labor consumption.
The poorest group includes the major countries of China and India; furthermore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Burma) as well as the very poorest: Bangladesh and the resource-poor inland states of Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal. In China and India, the industry at the same time includes quite primitive and the most advanced productions, e.g. associated with aerospace and nuclear power. The latter are often state-run; they can provide prestige but are consistently deficit companies.
The rapid economic growth in a number of countries in East and South Asia was halted in the second half of the 1990’s, when an extensive financial crisis hit the region. The crisis revealed the structural weaknesses in the countries’ economies and has triggered economic reforms. China was less affected by the economic crisis than the other countries in the region, and integration into the international economy has continued, with China’s membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was established in 2001.
The industry in Asia spans almost all degrees of technical development. A part consists of a simple further processing of agricultural goods or includes technically simple goods that are produced in an almost artisanal way. Cigarette production in Bangladesh can, for example, be done by filling hand-rolled casings with a spoon of crumbled tobacco. Certain types of fabrication are actually craft and highly labor intensive; for example, carpet weaving in Iran is performed on series of hand-woven hand-woven fabrics, often by children. At the same time, there are in Japan some of the world’s most advanced industries, which, for example, manufacture a significant part of all electronic components (for computers, among other things), almost without human labor.
A large part of the industry’s production includes daily consumer goods (food, soap/detergents, textiles). These industries are found in almost all major urban areas. In Asia, there is also a significant basic industry: Iron and steel for further processing are produced in many places, often based on local iron ore and coal deposits. In the basic industry, quite old-fashioned technology is used in many places, for example in Russia, China and India, but South Korea and Japan have very modern blast furnaces and steelworks, which work almost exclusively with imported raw materials. In return, they produce immensely economically and in large quantities; Japan’s steel production and consumption is among the largest in the world.
The countries with basic industry usually have a further processing metal industry such as shipyards, car factories and manufacture of railway equipment and aircraft etc. Russia’s Asian part, China and India all have a broad spectrum industry; they supply large domestic markets with everything from medicines to building materials, including electronics and industrial equipment.
Developments in both India and most recently especially in China have been strong. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are a group of countries working hard to develop industrial exports. Japan has had the greatest success with an investment that began with ships and, for example, photographic equipment (some of which were almost direct copies of well-known products). The trend has been towards ever more advanced products, efforts of larger capital equipment, highly trained personnel and research. Japan dominates the market in the industries of photography, optics, electronics, radio, television, video recorders, computers, etc., manufacturing of cars and motorcycles, etc., and has by this effort built up a very large surplus on its trade balance.
Asia has the world’s largest forest areas; approximately a quarter of the entire continent is forested. In particular, the temperate forests of Siberia have rather unfavorable climatic and soil conditions, and productivity is not very high. Especially in the forest tundra with polar willow and birch, the slow tree growth is largely not utilized. The taiga in Siberia consists mostly of larch and birch in the north, southern pine and spruce in the south. The coniferous forests are most used along roads and rivers. The former large deciduous forests of southwestern Siberia have now been almost cut down and the land cultivated. Also in China, forests are greatly reduced. Japan, whose forest percentage (approximately 67%) is on a par with Finland, has preserved its forest in mountainous areas where rice cannot be grown. Temperate forest is also found on the southern side of the Himalayas, but is also greatly reduced there.
The subtropical forests are found in two main types, a Mediterranean and an East Asian. The first consists mainly of conifers, pine and cedar in Lebanon, the second of many species of deciduous trees. Both types have almost disappeared. Tropical forests, partly deciduous monsoon forest, partly rainforest, covered previously vast areas in South and SE Asia. In countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, there are still large areas of forest, but many have been destroyed as a result of harmful felling of rare and valuable trees or cleared for cultivation. Attempts are being made to save the very species-rich tropical forests, partly by protection and partly by ordering appropriate felling. Tropical wood, and especially hardwood, such as teak and rosewood, is still an important export commodity from SEA-Asia, although lesser-known woods must replace the classic ones as they are chopped away. Major reforestation programs have been initiated in several places.
More than half of the world’s fish are caught by Asians, partly in rivers and lakes (Baikal, Aral, Tonle Sap, etc.), but especially in the oceans (including the marginal seas off East Asia). Fishing is mostly in shallow water off the coast or on banks and especially in the cooler sea areas. Among other things. However, Japan, China and Russia also have large high seas fleets that exploit more distant fish banks. In East Asia, fish is an important protein supplement to the rice diet. Some fish, small carp species such as guppies, kept in ponds and on the flooded rice fields. Among other things, they live of mosquito larvae and other insect larvae. In shallow, coastal waters in East Asia, fish and shrimp farming are of increasing importance.