Sunday, March 3, 2024

Top 10 Richest Countries in Asia – 2024 Updated List

Did you know that Asia is the fastest-growing economic region in the world? In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Iran have some of the largest economies in Asia. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and India also have impressive GDPs. Having said that, their wealth still varies due to the different environments, government systems, and cultures.

Which Asian countries are the wealthiest? What drives their wealth? How do they compare to other nations? Let’s find out.

Top 10 Richest Countries in Asia – 2024  List

Without further delay, here are the wealthiest nations in Asia.

10. Pakistan – GDP: $1.08 Trillion

pakistan economy

Pakistan is located in Southern Asia near the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. On the east, it shares a border with India and on the northeast, it shares a border with China. There are four main provinces: Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh.

While Pakistan is a developing country, its economy has been growing rapidly over the past years due to structural reforms by the government. For example, government corporations are being privatized, which helps to lower budget deficits.

Some of their primary exports include leather goods, chemicals, textiles, rugs, carpets, and sports equipment. They also have a strong agriculture sector that makes up nearly 40 percent of their employed labor force. Aside from wheat, which is their largest food crop, they also produce rice, cotton, and sugarcane. In 2017 alone, more than 26 million tonnes of wheat were produced.

Not only that but they also export fish, vegetables, and fruits such as oranges and mangoes.

Like many developing nations, however, they still face a number of challenges including corruption, a rapidly growing population, heavy foreign debt, political instability, and high illiteracy. In fact, they’re currently in the middle of an economic crisis, that has been made worse by the ongoing Russo-Ukranian war.

9. Iran – GDP: $1.1 Trillion

Iran is located in the Middle East in Western Asia. Neighboring countries include Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Formerly known as Persia, they currently have a population of 88.9 million, which is expected to reach its peak by the end of 2061.

Like Pakistan, Iran is a developing country. However, they also have a mixed economy that’s one of the biggest in the Middle East. The 21st largest in purchasing power parity, their economy is mainly dominated by gas and oil production. Their agriculture sector also contributes nearly 10 percent to the GDP. Some of their most important crops include rice, cotton, tea, barley, potatoes, tobacco, legumes, fruits, walnuts, and sugar beets. Not only that but they’re also one of the largest producers of honey, saffron, berberis, and pistachios in the world.

In addition to food, they are also known for their leather goods, silk, and wool. Since the 2000s, they’ve also been one of the biggest automakers in the world. Some of their other economic sectors include mines and metals, petrochemicals, and energy.

Domestic tourism within the country is also one of the biggest in the world.

8. Thailand – GDP: $1.3 Trillion

thailand economy

Thailand lies in the center of Southeast Asia, bordered by the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea to the east and Myanmar to the northwest. Located within the tropics, the country is known for its hills, mountains, plains, and long coastline, which stretches nearly 1,900 km.

A newly industrialized country, Thailand has a gross domestic product of $505 billion, which gives it one of the largest economies in Asia. Its main sectors include the service and industrial sectors, the latter accounting for nearly 40 percent of GDP. In recent years, trade in services and telecommunications has also been emerging in terms of economic competitiveness.

Despite a low per capita gross national income, the country is often considered “a success story”. For one thing, the poverty rate has dramatically decreased from 65 percent in 1988 to 9 percent in 2016. Not only that but they also have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world; this is mainly due to the fact that the majority of the population works in agriculture or other vulnerable employment.

Aside from agriculture, which has supported the country’s economy since the 1960s, they are also known for their forestry, fishing, manufacturing, automotive, energy, and banking sectors.

7. Saudi Arabia – GDP: $1.6 Trillion

Saudi Arabia is in the Middle East and is bordered by Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. The fourth largest state in the Arab world, they currently have a population of 39.85 million, nearly half of which is under 25 years old.

As of 2024, they have the largest economy in the Middle East, which heavily relies on their natural resources, mostly natural gas and petroleum. In fact, the country has the second-largest proven reserves of petroleum in the world. Given that, it’s not surprising that they’re also the largest exporter of petroleum. In 2021 alone, their crude oil exports were valued at over $161.7 billion USD.

Since the mid-2010s, however, the government has been trying to reduce its dependency on oil. For example, some of their other natural resources include gold, copper, manganese, silver, tungsten, iron, sulfur, lead, and phosphate. They also have a small agriculture industry, which is mainly known for dates.

Real estate is another booming sector. In 2016, the total sales from real estate transactions were approximately $75 billion.

More recently in 2022, it was announced that Lucid Motors will be opening a manufacturing plant in the city of Jeddah.

6. South Korea – GDP: $2.23 Trillion

Korea

South Korea is a mountainous region that’s located in East Asia, on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Neighboring countries include North Korea, Japan, and China. As of 2024, they have a population of 51.7 million, which puts it in 29th place in terms of the total population.

Economy-wise, they have developed rapidly from being an underdeveloped nation to a high-income country over the past generations. Nowadays, they have one of the largest economies in Asia with a gross domestic product of approximately $1.73 trillion. In fact, they have one of the fastest-growing economies in the world following the COVID-19 recession.

Not only is South Korea a leading producer of ships, but they also have an impressive electronics sector. Some major electronic brands include SK, LG, and Samsung. Since the late 1980s, the motor industry has also been booming. Nowadays, they’re one of the largest automobile producers in the world, with the Hyundai Group being the largest in terms of revenue.

In addition to that, they’re also known for their mineral (mainly graphite, tungsten, iron core, and coal), construction, construction, and armaments sector. Seoul, the country’s capital, is also a major tourist destination.

5. Turkey – GDP: $2.37 Trillion

turkey

Turkey is a large mountainous peninsula that lies between Asia and Europe. It shares borders with Iraq and Syria to the south; Georgia, Armenia, and Iran to the east; and Greece, and Bulgaria to the northwest. Not only that but it also shares maritime borders with Ukraine, Romania, Cyprus, and Russia.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Turkey has an emerging market economy, which means it has some characteristics of a developed market. Often referred to as a newly industrialized country, it has a GDP per capita of $38,700, which puts it at number 46 in the world.

Over the past two decades, Turkey has seen a number of major developments in its economy, such as increases in average income and employment. However, environmentalists argue that the economy is too reliant on the contracting and construction sectors.

Like many Asian countries, agriculture plays a large part in their economy, with their major crops being apricots, hazelnuts, sugar beets, poultry, wheat, milk, tomatoes, and cotton. Not only that but they also have a significant industrial sector, which is comprised of consumer electronics, automotive products, textiles, clothing, and locomotives.

With that said high inflation continues to be a challenge.

4. Indonesia – GDP: $3.30 Trillion

Indonesia is a large archipelagic country that’s situated in Southeast Asia. There are five main islands: Borneo, New Guinea, Java, Sulawesi, and Sumatra. The largest archipelago in the world, it stretches more than 5,000 kilometers (3,500 miles) from east to west along the equator.

Despite being a middle-income country, they have the largest economy in Southeast Asia with a GDP of $1.38 trillion USD. Not only that but their economy is also the seventh largest in the world in terms of gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity.

Currently, their agriculture sector contributes nearly 15 percent to their GDP. Some of their major agricultural commodities include peanuts, rice, cocoa, coffee, copra, eggs, tapioca, and coffee. They also rely on palm oil production, which contributes a significant amount to their economy. In fact, they are the largest producers of palm oil in the world.

Aside from agriculture, they are also known for their oil and mining, and manufacturing sectors, the latter of which contributes 20 percent to their GDP. In addition to that, their renewable energy, finance, real estate, textile, and automotive industries also have significant potential.

3. Japan – GDP: $5.3 Trillion

Japan

Japan is an island country that’s located in the North Pacific Ocean. While it consists of more than 6,800 islands, there are four main regions: Kyushu, Honshu, Hokkaido, and Shikoku.

One of the most innovative countries in the world, Japan leads in global patent filings and is considered to be a leading industrial cluster. For example, their manufacturing sector focuses mainly on high-tech and precision goods such as robotics, hybrid vehicles, and integrated circuits.

Not only that but they also have one of the largest fishing fleets in the world, with their numbers accounting for up to 15 percent of the global catch. Some commonly caught species include crab, sardine, pollock, sea bream, Japanese amberjack, salmon, skipjack tuna, and sauries.

Their agriculture sector, on the other hand, only accounts for one percent of their total GDP. This is mainly due to the fact that only one-tenth of the land is suitable for cultivation.

2. India – GDP: $9.1 Trillion

India is a vast country that’s bordered by the Bay of Bengal in the southeast and by the Arabian Sea in the southwest. It’s divided into five major regions: the Northern Plain, the Great Mountains, the Deccan Plateau, the Coastal Plains, and the Indian Desert.

Despite being a developing nation, it has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. In 2019, the country’s economy grew five percent, with the service sector making up more than half of the GDP. While the COVID-19 pandemic halted its economic growth, it remains to be one of the largest consumer markets in the world.

In addition to their agriculture sector, which mainly produces milk, rice, wheat, cotton, and sugarcane, they also have a significant manufacturing industry that employs more than 20 percent of the total workforce. In fact, their industrial manufacturing sector is one of the largest in the world, according to the World Bank.

Not only that but they’re also known for their pharmaceutical, mining, and textile industries. As of 2024, their biggest trading partners include China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Russia, and Germany.

1. China – GDP: $24.3 Trillion

china

China is located on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean. Located in East Asia, it has a landmass of 9.6 million square kilometers, which makes it one of the largest countries in the world, behind Russia and Canada.

Not only are they the largest exporter of goods but they also have the largest manufacturing economy in the world. Their workforce is also one of the largest with over 778 million individuals.

As of 2024, they’re also the largest producer and consumer of agriculture products. Some of their primary commodities include rice, soybeans, wheat, corn, peanuts, potatoes, pork, barley, tea, and tobacco. In addition to that, their real estate sector also contributes 20 percent to their economy.

Oil resources are also abundant, mainly in the Northeast and in Henan, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Gansu provinces. In addition to that, they also have rich deposits of iron ores, which are typically mined near the Yangtze River.

Since the 2010s, they have also been the largest automobile producer in the world. In 2018 alone, they produced more than 27 million vehicles. Their electric vehicle industry also contributes a significant amount to their economy. In fact, their electric vehicle sector accounts for more than half of the world’s production of EVs.

Cody Carmichael
Cody Carmichael
University graduate in Psychology, and health worker. On my off time I'm usually tinkering with tech or traveling to the ends of the globe.
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