The Asian Tigers correspond to South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong (ex-English territory and current Special Administrative Region of China) which experienced a rapid industrial process, receiving the name NICs (Newly Industrialized Countries – New Industrialized Countries) .
The expansion of industrial activity after the Second World War reached Southeast and East Asia, regions that have always had agricultural prominence, with rice production in the gardening system or in production by plantation system , with coffee, rubber, cane -sugar etc.
Geopolitics at the origin of the Asian Tigers
Until the Second World War, this group of countries had little economic development, especially the agricultural sector, with rice production, mainly in South Korea and Taiwan.
The population predominantly occupied the rural environment, with serious socioeconomic problems: high rate of illiteracy, infant mortality and low life expectancy.
The change in the economic structure and, consequently, in the social structure came from the 1960s and 1970s, with the rapid industrial process resulting from the geopolitical period of the Cold War.
The industrial model of these countries was characterized as IOE (export oriented industrialization), becoming known as export platforms when promoting industrialization destined to the foreign market, mainly North American, European and Asian.
Export processing zones (SPAs) were created, with land donations and tax exemption by the state, attracting North American and Japanese companies, which dominated investments.
The economic growth of the Asian Tigers also served as an imposition of the US presence on the advance of socialism in Asia, during the Cold War period, in a region close to China and North Korea.
On the part of Japan, the country’s growth with financial assistance from the USA, in the post-war period, resulted in economic-industrial growth (eg, the technology sector) and its displacement outside the territory in search of attractive markets.
In the 1990s, more precisely, in 1997, the Asian Tigers experienced a strong economic and financial crisis. The wages paid in China have become competitive for economies that have become accustomed to attracting companies using this artifice and gaining a competitor to match.
Tigers’ wages had risen over the decades, affecting competitiveness with the Chinese, who took up much of the foreign investment that previously flowed easily to this group of countries that saw their exports plummet.
Globalization generated strong international competition and this region ended up suffering increasing trade deficits with the fall in exports and the outflow of capital: the Hong Kong stock exchange even suffered a 4.1% devaluation in one day.
Financial speculation has grown to the point of shaking the banking system, affecting economic stability, which eventually forced governments to devalue their currencies. Taiwan and South Korea had to be bailed out by the IMF.
After 2008, the Asian Tigers suffered another economic-financial shock, due to the crisis in the USA, which affected export-oriented economies, caused by the devaluation of the dollar and the retraction of the consumer market. Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea were the Tigers most affected.
New Asian Tigers
According to calculatorinc, Thailand , Indonesia , Malaysia, and then the Philippines and Vietnam are considered the New Asian Tigers or Second Generation Tigers. These countries underwent considerable industrial development in the 1990s, attracting foreign capital.
The textile, food, footwear, toys and electronics sectors stood out, seduced by the low production costs with the supply of labor, with precarious labor rights and low remuneration, but less qualified in relation to the Tigers’ workforce. Asians.
The industrial process drove urbanization and the expansion of the tertiary sector, however there are two important challenges: to grow economically and, at the same time, to improve the social situation and living conditions of the majority of the population, in addition to promoting the strengthening of local companies.