East Asia has been the most dynamic part of the global economy in the last two to
three decades, achieving extraordinary economic growth and social transformation during
in 2005. The region includes major economic powerhouses of the global economy such as Japan, China and Korea – the second, third and fifteenth largest economies, respectively, in
The countries in East Asia display a great degree of diversity in economic development and political structures. Thirty years ago, Cambodia, China, Laos, Mongolia and Viet Nam were still socialist planned economies. At that time, Japan was already a major global economic power, while the so-called “Asian tigers” – Korea, Taiwan/China, Hong Kong, and Singapore – were on their way to becoming middle/high-income countries, thanks to successful export-oriented industrialization programmes. Following in their stead were the second-tier tigers – Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand – which had just started their journey towards industrialization.