Asia is the largest of the seven continents, and it is probably the most diverse. With so much diversity across Asia, measuring which countries are richest can be a challenge. How do you define what "rich" is? Rich in natural resources? Rich in the ability to work the land and not rely on cash? Rich in a priceless cultural heritage? When it comes to monetary values, GDP per capita and GDP determine how wealthy a nation is.
GDP Per Capita
The city-state of Singapore is the wealthiest country in Asia, with a per-capita income of $58,480. Singapore owes its wealth not to oil but rather to a low level of government corruption and a business-friendly economy. Many investors from around the world come to Singapore to do business, bringing their money with them.
The second-wealthiest country in Asia is Qatar. Qatar is an oil-rich country in the western part of Asia, in the Middle East's Arabian Peninsula. The country's per-capita income is over $52,750, and there is enough oil to sustain this wealth for another two decades.
After Qatar is Israel, which has a GDP per capita of $41,560. Israel is in the most western part of Asia, on the border of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel does not have oil but is one of the most technologically-advanced countries, with a well-educated workforce and the second most startups in the entire world, both of which fuel its economic development. Additionally, the country sources its food, with few imports, and exports its natural resources.
The fourth-wealthiest country in Asia is Japan, with just under $39,050 per person. Unlike the oil-rich countries of the Middle East, Japan does not have many natural resources. However, it is a highly developed technology sector, making Japan one of the most innovative countries in the entire world. An aging population and low birth rate could cause economic problems in the future, as its population is declining.
The United Arab Emirates, also in the Middle East, has an oil-based economy that leads to a per-capita income of over $31,950 per capita. Like Qatar and other oil-rich countries in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates' economy is almost entirely dependent on oil. Should the oil stop flowing before the economy diversifies, the economy will tank. However, the country's oil reserves are indeed massive.
GDP can also determine how wealthy a nation is. GDP is the monetary market value of all final goods and services made within a country during a specific period. If GDP is used instead of GDP per capita, the list of wealthiest Asian countries looks different.
China tops the list with a GDP of $14.86 trillion. Industry and construction account for almost 47% of China's total GDP. The primary industries include mining and ore processing, textiles, machinery, automobiles, steel, aluminum, coal, and more. Another large economic sector is agriculture. China is the largest agriculture producer in the world. There are about 300 million Chinese farmers.
China is followed by Japan with $4.91 trillion, India with $2.29 trillion, and South Korea with $1.59 trillion. Below are the ten richest Asian countries in terms of GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).