Taking their cue from Japan, the economies of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong-followed closely by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand-chose to base their growth on exports. By the mid-1990s, these “Tiger economies” had made such rapid economic growth that they had all been included in the select group of advanced developing economies referred to as “Newly Industrialized Countries” (NICs).
The Asian financial crisis in Indonesia caused a massive shock. Many investors lost their trust in emerging economies such as Indonesia,
The Asia Crisis 1997, however, brought several Southeast Asian countries to the brink of economic collapse. Currencies tumbled, foreign investors bailed out, and banks began to fail as companies everywhere were going to bankrupt. Even though the region’s self-confidence was shaken-some say because it was shake-the countries of Southeast Asia leaders began the painful work of economic and political transformation-even, in some cases, removing longtime dictators like the fall of General Suharto of Indonesia in 1998.
The new governments worked to quickly put an end to the corrupt business practices of the past. In Indonesia, for example the acronym KKN, standing for korupse, kolusi, nepotisme in nepotism that had long been accepted as part of any budding Asian economy. The new government promised that things would now be done differently
Many Southeast Asian countries economies were also helped by the fact their newly devalued currencies made exports much less expensive on the worlds markets. Shipments of toys, clothes, and machinery surged as economies from Hong Kong to Thailand got back to work. Despite the critic’ charge that the U.S Treasury and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) had overemphasized economic restructuring and fiscal austerity in their $100 billion bailout, the proof that their “tough love” had worked was easily seen in the booming export growth in many of the resurgent Tiger economies.
Another grouping of the Southeast Asian economies is ASEAN: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN members include Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, with more than 200 million inhabitants; the oil-rich Sultanate of Brunei; not-so communist Vietnam; the rapidly growing economies of Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines; and the relatively poor countries of Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, commonly referred to as Burma.