Asia is the future.

Over the past decade, Asia has grown tremendously.

From massive growth in GDP to some of the most expensive cities in the world being from Asia alone, there is no doubt that the wave of Asia is gaining momentum,

From rapid urbanization and widespread digitalization, several Asian economies are driving insurmountable growth to the largest continent on Earth.

Why Asia is the Future

There are plenty of arguments as to why Asia is the future. But simply looking at numbers and facts alone, we see that:

  • By 2020, Asia will have the world’s largest GDP.
  • By 2050 China and India are predicted to be the first and second wealthiest countries in the world. 
  • Asia is growing in the real estate and housing markets worldwide, with several nations being in the top markets.
  • Asia has undergone a huge digital revolution, evidenced by having the largest e-commerce, digital payment, and technology services in the region.
  • Asia’s culture is interconnected with global business and trade.
streets in japan

Leading economies in Asia

In 2020, Asia had the world’s largest regional economy. The six richest countries (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand) were among the top 25 countries in the list of 2020.

Thailand and Indonesia were added to the list of top 25 within the last 20 years, China and India elevated higher in the last two decades alone. These shifts are huge indicators that Asia is making big moves in the global economy. There are no signs of it slowing down.

emerging markets will dominate the world's top 10 economies in 2050

According to the PwC’s The World in 2050 report, China, India, Indonesia, Japan will be among the top 10 economies in 2050. China, India, and Indonesia will be placed as the first, second, and fourth wealthiest countries. Furthermore, Vietnam and the Philippines are expected to rise up several places in average annual GDP growth.

Rising property markets

In the last few years, the global housing market has been taken over by mostly Asian countries. Cities like Seoul, South Korea rank as the 7th most expensive city in the world in 2019 and Hong Kong stand as the most expensive residential property market worldwide. Global housing market statistics show that Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing are among the most expensive residential property markets in the world.

most expensive residential property markets worldwide in 2020
statista: Most expensive residential property markets worldwide in 2020(in 1,000 U.S. dollars)

The real estate market keeps growing in Asia by double-digit percentages. A recent PwC report, Emerging Trends in Real Estate showed that the appetite for real estate inflows into Asia has tightened the last six to nine months in 2020 during COVID pandemic.

The digital revolution in Asia 

Digitalization and technological adaptation is nothing new.

Yet, in the last few years, they have accelerated tremendously, with waves of advances in AI, computing power and big data. There is no doubt that this has reshaped the global economy.

In this change, Asia has adopted the emerging technologies quickly, standing at the forefront of the digital revolution. This is evidenced by the largest e-commerce, digital payment, and technology services such as Alibaba, Go-Jek Tencent, Softbank, and Baidu.

Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, RPA (robotics), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and big data are utilized heavily in many sectors in Asia. This contributes to the drastic reshaping of Asia’s economy and lifestyle. The new technology adaptation in Asia has thus helped to increase new jobs, skilled resources and bring about a new rising middle-class for several nations.  

world economic outlook usage of digitalization index
Sources: IMF, World Economic Outlook, International Telecommunication Union; and IMF staff calculations

Based on the Economy SEA 2020 report, it states that digital consumption has increased during the COVID pandemic, with internet economies growing annually in the region. Due to cheap technology, devices, and user compatibility, new jobs are rising in Asian countries constantly, with more and more opportunities for rapid growth.

According to IDC, since the governments and companies are promoting digitalization, 65% of global GDP is expected to be digitized by 2022, driving over USD$6.8 trillion of investments from 2020 to 2023. The potential for Asia’s digital economy is huge with the advances in 5G, AI, cloud computing, IoT technologies, and big data. 

value added in ICT

The 2019 Digital Economy Report by UNCTAD adds to this insight, showing how China, Korea, Taiwan, and India were some of the top countries that contributed to the growth in the ICT (information and communications technology) sector. When it comes to value-added in ICT manufacturing, most of the countries in the top 10 economies were from Asia.

Booming culture 

Asia’s culture is one of the global economy’s main key exports is its culture. As noted in the popular book, ‘The Future is Asian’ the author Parag Khanna explains that Asian governments are spending money for the future ‘a new silk road era.’ By doing so, will help connect the biggest commercial centers in Asia with other regions to facilitate commerce and culture exchange. 

global phenomenon of kpop

As evident from the global phenomenon of K-pop and Korean culture as a whole to the rising popularity of long-time exports of anime into the Western world, there is no doubt that Asian culture is taking the world by storm.

Global ‘Asianization

Asia is returning to the patterns of trading and cultural exchange as the ancient ways, which are growing better than the era of Western hegemony. With predictions of China and India leading the economy in the next 10-20 years, Asia is growing into a new phase of globalization, one of which author Parag Khanna describes as the ‘Asianization’ of the modern world. 

With interconnected platforms like Netflix to recent billion dollar buyouts, the massive consumption and exporting of Asian cultural goods is expected to continue for the coming years, and as such, will continue to solidify the continent as a leader — in commerce, manufacturing, entertainment, property and more — well into the coming years.


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