As defined by countryaah.com, Four Little Asian Dragons is the denomination for the economic bloc formed by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and the administrative region of Hong Kong. The term was coined in 1980 to define areas where administrative dynamism with regard to local recovery and influence on the world economy.

Until the 1960s, these countries were marked by social indicators as low as those currently recorded in African countries. Asian Dragons are defined as the expression of a vibrant and efficient economy, resulting in wealth and political, administrative and social well-being. The comparison is with the dragon for being agile, precise, imposing and aggressive.

Using agility, countries moved out of the developing category, precision went to work for investment in industry, and the result was in economies marked by wealth and stature in Asia.

Four Little Asian Dragons Economy

The economic development of the Asian Dragons is divided into three phases. The first places them all as economically underdeveloped and has as its characteristics the lack of raw materials, underutilization of agricultural potential, high dependence on industrialized products and high illiteracy rates.

In the first phase, the industry had low-wage workers with minimal labor conditions. Unions were virtually absent and there was an intense search for a cheap but profitable means of production. The change in this phase begins with the transformation of the industry profile and the improvement of social conditions.

The second phase is marked by the economic depression since the 1990s. Among the events that influenced the drop in prospects was the loss of competitive advantages paralleled by the expansion of the unions’ power in order to guarantee the fulfillment of social demands. The reaction once again went through the industry.

The strengthening of industry and modernization of industrial parks are among the points that mark the third phase. The reaction is also perceived with the offer of better salaries, social guarantees, improvement of urban equipment, growth of the service sector and investment in universities. The third phase is highlighted by the openness to international trade coupled with political stability.

While directly influencing and practically dictating the rules of the Asian economy, the Asian Dragons are also impacted by their neighbors, the New Asian Dragons and Brand New Asian Dragons. In 1997, this influence was most clearly shown when Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines withdrew speculative funds and created a ripple effect.

Still, there was intense growth, which led to typical urbanism phenomena, such as the rural exodus and swelling of large cities. The population in the countryside is scarce and the strength of the Asian Dragons is threatened mainly by low birth rates.


  • Substitution of imports by investment in light industry
  • Fall in domestic demand for imported products
  • Priority for product offerings to developed countries
  • Import Restriction
  • Investment in human capital by meeting basic social guarantees
  • Salary increase
  • Competition with other emerging markets
  • Intensification of the high-tech industry
  • Qualification Investment

New Asian Dragons

The way of economic and political management of the Four Little Asian Dragons is also adopted in the 1980s by Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The group was designated as the New Asian Dragons and had a 5% annual growth rate in an economy based on exporting electronics to Asia, Europe and North America.

Brand New Asian Dragons

The foreign-oriented economy adopted by the Philippines and Vietnam resulted in the broadening of the economic bloc and the term New Asian Dragons was coined. These countries managed to weather the economic crisis in the 1990s and maintained their export indices and social quality indicators.

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