The Except for some isolated falls in their

The name of the “Four Asian Tigers”, sometimes
also referred to as the “Four Asian Dragons” was given to Hong Kong, Singapore,
South Korea and Taiwan, or rather to their economies. These nations saw rapid
industrialization and had a steady growth during the 1960s throughout the
1990s. The average growth rates in these years were 6% for Hong Kong, Singapore,
and Taiwan, and 7% for South Korea. The images below show the evolution of Real
GDP per capita for each country between 1960 and 2011. The average growth rates
between these years are 5% for Hong Kong and Singapore, and 6% for South Korea
and Taiwan. Through these estimations, we see the incredible rates at which
these countries have grown. Except for some isolated falls in their growth
rates during the second half of the 1970s, we notice that they have all
experienced an almost continuous and positive growth up until 1995. In 1996,
the countries were hit by the Asian Financial Crisis, and by looking at the
images we can see that this event lowered their annual growth rates.
Nonetheless, it is still impressive how fast the countries’ economies bounced
back, a recovery many economists refer to as “the Asian Miracle”. In the images
below we can see another period of time when the growth rates had a considerable
decrease, which is when the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 hit the entire world
and had repercussions on every country.Before
talking about each country in particular or how they developed, it is relevant
to discuss about their historical background. The effects of World War II and
of the Korean War (1950-1953) were still felt in the early 1960s. All countries
had a similar development pattern starting with that time. Besides new imports
and exports policies, they all pursued education as a way of ensuring skilled
labor force, which was obviously able to produce more output than less-skilled
labor force. Some studies show that the average years of schooling in 1965 in
these four countries was 1.5 years. If we measure human capital based on the
expected years of schooling, we notice that it is a factor influencing the
economic growth. This may be one of the reasons why the Four Asian Tigers
decided to make primary and secondary school attendance mandatory, while at the
same time investing in universities and making it easier for Asian students to
attend universities abroad.

            All four countries had a fairly well
established post-colonial infrastructure, Singapore having been a British
colony in the past, Hong Kong still being one, South Korea having an American
influence, and respectively Taiwan a Chinese influence. The first two
mentioned, Singapore and Hong Kong were able to sustain great rates of growth
also due to their importance as trade centers.

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The story of
each Tiger

Hong
Kong

Manufacturing
industries, textile exports and re-exports of goods to China are the main
factors that caused Hong Kong to have a rapid industrialization, making it the
first out of the four economies to take off. The population started to grow,
while the labor costs remained cheap, meaning the standards of living began to
rise. This, and favorable tax incentives are what attracted investors and many
corporations to the city. Employing large sections of the population during the
1960s meant that the manufacturing industry moved to a new stage. The following
years (i.e. 1970s and 1980s) brought a period of high development due to the
country’s new-found wealth. Hong Kong now had city-wide constructions,
skyscrapers, public housing and commuter train lines. The GDP grew 180 times
between 1961 and 1997, making Hong Kong one of the wealthiest countries in the
world.

Singapore

World
War II left Singapore into a state of violence and disorder. Much of its
infrastructure suffered during the war, including harbor facilities at the Port
of Singapore. Crude oil, rubber and tin were the main materials that were
transported from the Malay Peninsula to Singapore, in order to be shipped afterwards
to Britain or other international markets. This was the main function of the
port of Singapore during the colonial period. The lack of food that caused
malnutrition, disease, crimes and violence throughout Singapore, combined with the
high level of food prices and unemployment led to a series of strikes in 1947,
causing interruptions in public transport and other services.

The
population of Singapore faced increased levels of unemployment and poverty in
1965 as well, when it became independent from Malaysia. As a response to this
problem, the government set to make Singapore an attractive destination for
Foreign Direct Investments by establishing the Economic Development Board. In
the years that followed, FDI had a great increase, and by 2001 foreign companies
accounted for 75% of manufactured output and 85% of manufactured exports. As of
now, Singapore is one of the world’s leading currency exchange countries. It
managed to capitalize on its reputation as a trade center and it now possesses
a vast expat community, evidence of the high volumes of foreign investment
received over the years. Singapore currently has the highest GDP of all Four
Asian Tigers.