In order to begin our list of the richest countries in Asia, it is first necessary to understand the definition of a rich country. Though a country’s economy may seem strong, its GDP per capita might be on a rapid decline, and the standard of living might not compliment the economic growth. The country’s economy strongly depends on the production of the country. Some countries entirely depend on agriculture and raw material resources to fund the economy. Some other gifted countries depend on their oil reserves and natural gas resources, while others make for a strong economy with advancements in technology. The GDP per capita or the gross domestic product is the market value of all these goods produced by the economy in a given period of time. Though it doesn’t relate the per capita income of the country, it serves as a good indicator for the country’s standard of living. So here on this list, the large population or the size of the nation doesn’t count, but the value of the goods produced does. So let’s take a look at the top 10 richest Asian countries based on the GDP per capita.
10. Timor – Leste
East Timor or Timor-Leste in Portuguese is a small country in South East Asia, sharing it’s boundary with Indonesia. With a land area of just over 15000 square kilometers, the country produces enough GDP to be on the list of the richest countries in Asia. The country was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century and was known as Portuguese Timor back then. The country gained independence in 1975, only to be invaded by Indonesia. The Indonesian rule lasted for over two decades, before the UN intervened to liberate the city. Today East Timor is a Sovereign state, with complete freedom over its ruling policies and internal affairs. Despite years of being ruled over, the GDP per capita of the country is one of the highest in Asia and is expected to have the sixth largest GDP growth in the World. The major exports of the country are Oil and petroleum, resulting in its affinity towards foreign invasions.
Located 400kms off the coast of South India, the island nation of Maldives is next on our list of richest Asian countries. Though it may come as a surprise to many, on to how it manages to sustain its strength in economy – the Maldivian citizens yet generate $8,800 to support the country’s wealth. The major income of Maldives is from its exports, which mainly include frozen fish, and processed fish foods. Maldives has a very peculiar geographical location. It is essentially two columns of 26 atolls that barely surface the ocean. Since, the surface level of Maldives is just 1.5 meters above the sea level on average – the nation is the lowest natural surface on the planet. The islands are sinking at a constant rate into the Indian Ocean, with many of the islands already completely below the sea.
Thailand – formerly known as Siam – is a monarch ruled country located in Southeast Asia. The country is headed by the head of the state, and also primarily administrated by the Prime minister. The country is the 20th most populous country in the world, and also the 51st largest country. But geographical facts apart, Thailand is also a emerging economy heavily relying on is exports. If you ever wondered where the microchip and integrated circuits of your computer came from, just flip to the side and check – you will find the name of this country. The capital Bangkok is the cultural and economic hub of Thailand and also the most populated city in the country. The nation produces $9,500 as GDP per capita.
More commonly known as the Republic of Azerbaijan, the nation is largest country in the Caucasus region. Acting as bridge between Western Asia and Eastern Europe – the country is built on cross of road of various cultures. The settlements of Azerbaijan are considered one of the oldest in human history with stone carvings dating back to 10,000 BC. Also the city is the first Muslim city to have completely developed Opera Houses, theatres and plays. The Country became a republic in 1918, but was shortly annexed to the Soviet Union in 1920. The country has attained high levels of human development, literacy and economic development, that its population produces $10,300 GDP per year.
The nation of Kazakhstan declared itself a republic after the Soviet Union. The country has an expansive culture with over a dozen ethnic groups residing within its boundaries. Kazakhstan may not be in the list of developed nations in Asia, but sure is one the largest GDP producing countries in Asia. The citizens of this landlocked country produce over $13,200 GDP per capita. The majority of the nation’s income is from its oil and natural gas resources, which are abundant in its vast landscape. With over 4 billion tons of unexploited natural oil reserves, the country is well on its way to become one of the largest oil producers.
Malaysia is a collection thirteen states and three federal territories separated by the South China Sea. The country is a monarchy with the elected king of the Royal family being the head of the state. The government is controlled by the Prime minister and is elected once every five years. This mega diverse nation is one of the richest countries in Asia, showing a constant GDP growth rate at 6.5% on average for over five decades. The country produces $15,800 GDP per capita from its populace, making it the 5th richest nation in Asia. The country produces most of its income from its natural resources and as well its technological advancements and tourism.
4. South Korea
The non-evil twin of the Korean domain – South Korea is next on our list of top ten rich nations. Despite continuous disputes with North Korea, and strong economic influences from its communist neighbors, the country continues to be democratic with strong growth in its economy. With exports to all over the globe and trade routes connecting every nation, the nation is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With major exports of automobiles, electronic goods, machinery and other information system – South Korea is the economic hub of Asia. The country produces over $32,000 GDP per capita, which is double the income of any other nation, down on the list.
Usually when a country is set back by war, it stagnates its economic growth and just waits till other nations take pity and helps them out. But japan is one of those nations that rolls its sleeves and comes right back at you. When the United States was done with its occupation of japan after the Second World War, many would not have expected Japan to supersede the United States in economy. What happened post the war in Japan can only be called a miracle. The country’s GDP rate grew like clockwork, raising its per capita income by 7.5% annually. Today Japan is the third largest economy in the world and produces some of the most advanced machinery and automobiles.
Brunei or the Abode of Peace, as it is rightfully called so in the native tongue, is a prosperous Sovereign state in South East Asia. Brunei is considered as a developed nation and is ranked amongst the wealthiest nations in the world. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) it is the 5th richest nation by GDP per capita and also the 2nd richest nation in Asia. The Sultan of the nation is one of the richest persons in the world and the country is the least densely populated in the world. That makes it all the reason to call it – Abode of peace.
This island nation has been the subject of awe to many economists and nations alike. Comprising of a 63 islands, the country is smaller than many large cities. Yet it is the third richest country in the world and the richest in Asia. It is the economic capital of Asia and one of the largest financial centers in the world. Apart from tourism and its natural resources, the country makes for most its income from the businesses and banking investments. Its citizens produce $60,500 GDP per capita, making it one the largest in the world.