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The 20 Richest Countries in Asia

Around the world, each country has a different financial situation. The wealth of a country depends on many factors, including the import and export industry, their debts to other countries, their infrastructure, the availability of natural resources, and the country’s population.

Asia is a continent with countries at either extreme, as there are some very poor countries and other countries that are some of the richest in the world. The wealth of a country is decided based on the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, which is a measure of a country’s economy in relation to the population.

Here are the top 20 richest countries in Asia based on GDP per capita taken from data listed by World’s Richest Countries that is taken from statistics of the International Monetary Fund.

20. China - $19,520

Taking into account population figures makes a big difference in how a country is ranked for its wealth. If only the gross domestic product (GDP) is accounted for, then China ranks as the richest country in both Asia and the world.

However, when the figures are based on GDP per capita, China ranks in 20th position of the richest countries in Asia and only 74th in the world. This is because this country is so highly populated.

According to The Balance, China has the world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. China has many strong sectors that contribute to the country’s economy. Some of these include mining, textiles, apparel, chemicals, food processing, transportation equipment, electronics, and telecommunications products.

19. Turkmenistan - $20, 409

Although Turkmenistan is predominantly a desert country with a focus on agriculture, it is a country with good supplies of oil and gas, says Theodora. It also has good crops of cotton and wheat. While the former is predominantly exported, the latter is mainly for domestic use.

Despite agriculture only accounting for eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product figures, half the country’s workforce is employed in this sector. China is the main recipient of the natural gas exports from Turkmenistan.

18. Thailand - $20,474

The World Bank says that Thailand has made significant progress in social and economic development over the last four decades. It has now moved from being a low-income country to an upper-income country.

The country has experienced an increase in employment rates, especially in the agricultural sector. Thailand has put strategies in place and set goals for continued economic growth over the next 20 years.

Some of the strongest industries in Thailand include automobiles, financial services, tourism, textiles, beverages, tobacco, electrical appliances, cement, computers, plastics, and agricultural processing.

17. Turkey - $27,391

The business and investment sectors in Turkey have remained static because of political turbulence, says Heritage. However, Turkey has solid public finances, a strong banking sector, and a diversified private business sector. Imports and exports account for 54.2 percent of the GDP of this country and subsidies have been put in place for both agriculture and education.

16. Kazakhstan - $28,515

The economy of Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia. However, the economy has experienced a decline since the 1990s because of the breakup of the USSR and a lack of demand for the traditional heavy industry products of Kazakhstan.

The most important industries in this country currently are oil, coal, manganese, iron ore, copper, zinc, lead, precious metals, agricultural machinery, construction materials, and electric motors.

15. Russia - $30,284

Between 2018 and 2019, Russia has seen economic growth of 3.5 percent in terms of the GDP per capita. Not only is it the 15th richest country in Asia, but it is also the 55th richest country in the world.

However, Bloomberg says that it is not expected that Russia will see another spurt of economic growth in the coming year. In the last year, oil and gas exports were one factor that contributed to the economic growth, another was the construction boom.

14. Malaysia- $32,455

Malaysia has seen economic growth of 5.2 percent GDP per capita since 2018, putting it at 14th on the list of richest countries in Asia and 50th richest country worldwide.

Focus Economics says that this is in part thanks to foreign demand for petroleum products and also a robust increase in retail sales. However, shipments of palm oil and palm oil-based products have come to a standstill recently. Despite this setback, financial experts predict a continuation in the strength of the Malaysian economy in the coming years.

13. Israel - $39,160

Israel is the 13th richest country in Asia and the 39th richest country in the world as it has experienced a GDP per capita increase of 3.1 percent since 2019.

Israel is a highly industrialized country, says the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israel has a lack of natural resources, but it is strong in manufacturing industries. It also has a skilled labor force and is known for its scientific institutes. One area of development in recent years is the tourist industry, with the country focusing on promoting the reasons that people should visit Israel.

12. South Korea - $42,985

Tutor2u notes that although the South Korean economy was hit hard in the late 1990s, it has an enviable record of microeconomic stability. The country has a strong export performance and the manufacturing industry has risen, but the service sector is relatively weak. Income levels in South Korea are gradually catching up with average household incomes in Japan. South Korea is the 32nd richest country in the world.

11. Japan - $45,565

The 11th richest country in Asia and the 31st richest country in the world is Japan. The Balance notes that Japan relies on its central bank to prop up its economy. Also, in terms of purchasing power parity, it is the world’s fifth largest economy. Japan has a high population of 12 million people, and this brings down its GDP per capita, but it still has a higher standard of living than both South Korea and China.

10. Oman - $46,978

Oxford Business Group says that the economy in Oman has strengthened from 2018 to 2019 due to the higher energy prices and strong increases in gas output. This means that experts are predicting the economy of Oman to strengthen further in the coming year. Diversification plans mean that there has also been an increase in manufacturing that has contributed to this country’s GDP.

9. Bahrain - $48,464

In recent years, Bahrain’s economy has been a little turbulent and the country has needed bailing out by its Middle Eastern neighbors. However, it is currently enjoying an economic surge that puts it in ninth position on the list of the richest countries in Asia by GDP per capita.

This is partially due to the moderate growth of the mining and quarrying sectors and slight growth in manufacturing industries. However, the fall in oil prices puts Bahrain at risk of dropping back down the list by 2020, according to Focus-Economics.

8. Taiwan - $55,244

Taiwan has many thriving industries that have contributed to Taiwan being the eighth richest country in Asia. According to information on Wikipedia, some of the main industries in this country are electronics, communications and information technology companies, chemicals, textiles, petroleum refining, machinery, iron and steel, food processing, and consumer products.

It is also a largely self-sufficient country, as it is rich in food and natural resources. In terms of agriculture, the country produces rice, vegetables, beef, poultry, corn, pigs, fish, milk, fruit, and tea. Natural resources include natural gas, asbestos, marble, limestone, and coal.

7. Saudi Arabia - $56,817

The economy of Saudi Arabia is fueled by the enormous revenues from oil reserves, says Britannica. There is an increase in mining for mineral resources, including precious metals, and this is also now contributing to the country’s economy.

Manufacturing plays a big role in Saudi Arabia’s economy, with some of the most important industries including petrochemicals, fertilizers, metal products, cement, and truck assembly. Not only is Saudi Arabia the seventh richest country in Asia, but it is also the 15th richest country in the world.

6. Hong Kong - $66,517

Located in southeastern China, Hong Kong is an autonomous territory that is ranked as the 6th richest country in Asia. Hong Kong Economy describes Hong Kong as an international business, trade, and financial hub that is experiencing economic rise thanks to the opportunities brought by the mainland economy. It is also increasing in popularity as a tourist destination, which is also giving the country and economic boost.

5. Kuwait- $67,969

Theodora says that one reason that this country’s economy is so strong is that it holds approximately six percent of the world’s crude oil reserves. Half of the country’s GDP is accounted for by petroleum.

Other industries that may a significant contribution to Kuwait’s economy include cement, shipbuilding, food processing, water desalination, and construction materials.

4. United Arab Emirates - $70,474

The economy of the United Arab Emirates is the second highest in the Middle East, the fourth highest in Asia, and the eighth highest in the world. According to Heritage, the UAE has one of the freest economies in the Middle East and oil and gas remain two of the most important sector.

Other industries that play an important role in the economy of this country are real estate and exports. The government is currently pushing for a boost in entrepreneurship. This country has an extremely low unemployment rate of just 1.7 percent.

3. Brunei Darussalam - $83,777

Brunei Darussalam, often simply referred to as Brunei, is the third richest country in Asia and the fifth richest country in the world based on GDP per capita. This country is located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian Archipelago.

According to The Commonwealth, the oil and gas sectors dominate the economy in this country and it ranks so highly because it has a small population. Industry accounts for 71.7 percent of this countries GDP.

2. Singapore - $103,717

In the second position is Singapore, which is a small island country located by the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Zenith-spot says that Singapore is the third leading financial center in the world and that it plays an important role in international finance and trade.

It has been the fastest growing economy in the world since 2010 and this is predominantly because of its exports and the processing of imported goods. Important industries in this country include manufacturing, mechanical engineering, electronics, biomedical sciences, and petroleum processing.

1. Qatar - $134,623

Based on GDP per capita, Qatar is the richest country in both Asia and the world. This country is in the Middle East in the Arabian Peninsula and its capital is Doha. Zenith-spot explains that this country has the third largest supply of gas and oil reserves in the world, which is one reason for Qatar’s high economic income.

It also has a very high human development index ranking. Other than gas and oil, some of the most important industries to the economy of Qatar include ammonia, fertilizer, petrochemicals, cement, ship repair, and reinforcing steel.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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