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Surviving the War for Talent in Asia: Asian Economic Growth

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Asia is transforming! What drives this momentum? Why is the transformation so evident now? In this chapter, Christina SS Ooi examines how all this started and what sustains it.
This chapter is from the book
  • Asia...the world’s largest factory, the world’s largest office, shapes the economic landscape of the world. This is home. This is Asia.1

Asia is transforming! Over the past three decades, Asia produced a remarkable record of high and sustained economic growth. The countries of this region are currently experiencing some of the strongest economic growth in the world. Relative economic power is shifting from the developed world to Asia, and this shift will likely endure for a long time. According to Asian Development Bank (ADB), sometime between 2020 and 2025, Asia’s share of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP) could rise to an estimated 40 percent.

What drives this momentum? Why is the transformation so evident now? In this chapter, we examine how all this started and what sustains it.


World War II devastated Asia, seriously scarring many countries, especially in East Asia. With the collapse of imperialism and colonialism after World War II, Asian countries began to address the social and economic legacies of war as sovereign and autonomous entities. Circumstances demanded that governments address seemingly intractable problems such as weak to no economic infrastructures, extreme poverty, and underdeveloped market systems.

The first Asian country to “recover” from World War II was Japan. Then emerged the “Asian Tigers,” a cluster of countries in East Asia, followed by the Southeast Asian countries. From Japan, to India, to Vietnam, the economic prowess of Asia has elicited world attention.

Each of these Asian countries has unique factors contributing to its respective economic success. This chapter examines a short economic history of a few of these countries so that you can more fully understand the talent shortage that currently threatens Asian economies.

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