What Are the Four Asian Tigers?
The Four Asian Tigers are the high-growth economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Fueled by exports and rapid industrialization, the Four Asian Tigers have consistently maintained high levels of economic growth since the 1960s, and have collectively joined the ranks of the world's wealthiest nations.
Hong Kong and Singapore are among the most prominent worldwide financial centers, while South Korea and Taiwan are essential hubs for the global manufacturing of automobile and electronic components, as well as information technology.
- The Four Asian Tigers are the high-growth economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
- All four economies have been fueled by exports and rapid industrialization, and have achieved high levels of economic growth since the 1960s.
- The countries that make up the Four Asian Tigers share common characteristics, including a sharp focus on exports, an educated populace, and high savings rates.
Understanding the Four Asian Tigers
Also known as the Asian Dragons, the countries that make up the Four Asian Tigers share common characteristics, including a sharp focus on exports, an educated populace, and high savings rates. The economies of the Four Tigers have proven resilient enough to withstand local crises such as the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and global shocks like the credit crunch of 2008.
The International Monetary Fund includes the Four Asian Tigers in its category of 35 most advanced economies.
In the 1960s, South Korea's per capita gross domestic product was comparable to the poorest countries in Asia and Africa. But in the four decades since then, the country has observed substantial growth, affected in part by a system of close government, directed credit, and import restrictions. As of Dec. 2020, South Korea had a total GDP of $1.59 trillion and a per capita GDP of $30,640 with a growth rate of -1.9% and a population of 51.8 million.
Despite its contentious relationship with China, Taiwan has thrived over the last four decades. As of Dec. 2020, Taiwan's GDP per capita was $28,180. Due to pressure from China, the country is not a part of the United Nations, but it has nevertheless emerged as a reliable exporter. Its GDP was $660 billion with a growth rate of 2.5%, making this nation of 23.6 million people one of the strongest economies in Asia.
Hong Kong is considered a special administrative region (SAR) in China, which gives it freedom over all its activities except for its defense until the year 2047, at which time Hong Kong and China will reassess their relationship. The latest reports show that the region ranks exceptionally high on scales measuring economic freedom, boasting a GDP of approximately $340 billion as of Dec. 2020, a GDP per capita of $45,180, a growth rate of 2.9%, and a population of 7.6 million.
Although it has only 5.8 million citizens, Singapore had a GDP of $340 billion, a GDP per capita of $58,480 as of Dec. 2020, and a growth rate of -6%. Considered one of the least corrupt nations in the world, Singapore has a notoriously transparent regulatory environment and well-secured property rights, which provide valuable commercial security to its private sector.
Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia are sometimes referred to as the "Tiger Cub Economies," because while they have developed more slowly than the Four Asian Tigers in the decades since the 1950s, they have nonetheless grown at a steady rate.