Why is East Asia so much more developed than the rest of Asia?

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Do you mean recently – or historically? Remember – more than the last few centuries, East Asia was arguably the most advanced civilization in the world.


The Asian Tiger are known for their rapid and successful industrialization during the 20th century. By committing their economies to certain policies of specialization these economies made the most of their opportunities by focusing on producing electronics, cars, advanced technology like computer chips etc. Also, they enjoyed support from the US in this process of industrialization.


Singapore is in Southeast Asia, not East Asia. Our population is majority ethnic Chinese, but we’re in Southeast Asia. Deeeeeeep in, too, not at the edge.


Interesting that some people credit colonialism with enriching the currently successful Asian countries and other people blame colonialism for holding the not so successful countries back. It’s obviously much more complicated than either one of those options. It’s the same deal in the the Americas. North America was colonized and got rich. South America and the Caribbean was colonized and (mostly) got poor.


I’m not knowledgable enough about many of these places to give you answers on all of them.. obviously the ‘industrialization’ of Japan is a well understood topic which has lots written about it, but many of the other areas others will have to answer, i’d say that there are lots of different reasons, South Korea obviously benefitted massively from the Post-War US investment. But in terms of Hong Kong and Singapore, you shouldn’t forget that they were two of the most important colonies in the British Empire and at the time Britain took over Singapore (1819ish) and Hong Kong (1842) they weren’t particularly important locations, they were built almost from the ground up by Britain. Singapore had been a fairly prosperous trading post in pre-colonial times, and the Portuguese and Dutch had settlements there before Britain, but it was under Britain it became a major hub for that area, Hong Kong was basically a collection of fishing villages built pretty much from scratch by the British and by British trade following the Opium War. So basically what i’m getting at, is that Singapore and Hong Kong benefitted from substantially investment and trade from the British Empire and they were also released from the British Empire fairly late (1963 for Singapore and 1997 for Hong Kong). So its hardly a surprise that they are similar to the West in terms of development since they were two of the most developed colonies and were handed over so late in the day.