Four Asian Tigers

What does the 'Four Asian Tigers' mean

The four Asian tigers are the high-growth economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The four Asian tigers have consistently maintained high levels of economic growth since the 1960s, fueled by exports and rapid industrialization, which enabled these economies to join the ranks of the world's richest nations. Hong Kong and Singapore are among the biggest financial centers worldwide, while South Korea and Taiwan are important hubs of global manufacturing in automobile and electronic components as well as information technology, respectively.

BREAKING DOWN 'Four Asian Tigers'

Also going by the nickname of Asian dragons, the four Asian tigers share common characteristics that include a focus on exports, an educated populace and high savings rates. The economies of the four tigers have proved to be resilient enough to withstand local crises, such as the Asian financial crisis of 1997, as well as global shocks, including the credit crunch of 2008. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes the four Asian tigers in its category of 35 advanced economies.

South Korea

In the 1960s, South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was comparable with the poorest countries through Asia and Africa. However, in the following four decades, the country experienced considerable growth, affected in part by a system of close government, directed credit and import restrictions. As of December 2015, the country has a total GDP of $1.4 billion and a per capita GDP of over $35,000, with a growth rate of 3.3%.


Despite its contentious relationship with China, Taiwan has thrived over the last four decades, and it boasts a per capita income of over $45,000. Although the country is not part of the United Nations, due to pressure from China, it still maintains a strong showing as an exporter, and its GDP is over $1.1 trillion, making this nation of 23.4 million people one of the strongest economies in Asia.

Hong Kong

Considered to be a special administrative region in China, Hone Kong has freedom over all of its activities, aside from defense, until 2047. At that point, the relationship between Hong Kong and China will again be assessed. The country ranks extremely high on scales measuring economic freedom, and as of 2015, it boasts a per capita GDP of over $36,000, 286% of the world's average.


Although it has only 5.5 million citizens, Singapore has a GDP of $452.7 billion or a per capita GDP of $82,762. Considered one of the least corrupt nations in the world, the country has a transparent regulatory environment and well-secured property rights, which provide commercial security to the private sector.