Asia Overview

According to Countryaah, Asia is the largest continent and the most populous with over 4.16 billion in. (2011). Asia is the continent of contrasts; nature, population and business conditions show great variation. In Asia, almost all cultural forms are found from collectors and lower hunters to the most modern industrial culture. Also, societies’ historically rooted organizational forms and strategies for development are different.

Asia Beautiful Places 02


Asia is conventionally separated from Europe by the Ural and Caucasus mountain ranges and from Africa by the lowland in which the Suez Canal is located.


Large parts of Asia are far from the sea, and the continent is characterized by mainland climates with very large differences between summer and winter.


Asia is both the largest and youngest of Earth’s continents. Most of the Asian continent is part of the Eurasian Plate together with Europe, other parts belong to other Plates.


Asia accounts for one third of Earth’s land area, but is inhabited by approx. 60% of the population. Compared to other continents, there are several different race types and peoples.


In Asia, three languages ​​are found, which are also spoken in other parts of the Euro-Afro-Asian major continent: Indo-European, Semitic and Oral languages.


Asia is home to all forms of religion. The major religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zarathustraism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kongfuzianism, Daoism and Shintoism arose here.

Health Conditions

The large differences between the disease patterns in Asia’s individual countries reflect the very large differences between the countries’ economic development and infrastructure.


While in Africa one can follow the very first traces of man, it is in Asia that one finds the earliest highly developed societies. From this we know the first testimonies of farming and cattle breeding in the world, the first use of metal and the oldest writing.


Asia was considered in Greece from about 500 BC. as one of the three continents. The borders of Europe and Africa were usually drawn by the river Don and by Suez.


Macau was ruled by Portugal as a colony for over 440 years before it became part of China again at the end of 1999. Macao was an important hub of trade between Asia and Europe early on. Later it developed into a gaming paradise. Tourism is an important industry and today many tourists come not least from the rest of China to Macao.

Geography and population

Macao, six miles west of Hong Kong, consists of a cape and the two islands of Taipa and Coloane. The area houses approximately 607,000 inhabitants on just 21 square kilometers of land.

Although 95 percent of the population is Chinese, Portuguese was the official language during the colonial era, and the administration was dominated by the Portuguese. Before the transfer to China, however, a transition process began, in which the Chinese (Cantonese) was equated with Portuguese.

History and politics

After nearly 450 years as a Portuguese colony, Macao in 1999 became part of the People’s Republic of China. Macao is a “special administrative region” and has extensive self-government. But Beijing is watching the political development in the region, as well as in Hong Kong, and the regional government is dominated by Beijing-friendly groups and gaming companies. Pro-Democratic parties had some success in the last election of 2017.

From the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macao was the first trade hub between east and west. 1557 is usually stated as the year when Portugal established its colony. When the British founded their crown colony in Hong Kong in 1841, Macao’s economic significance diminished. In 1887, China recognized the area as Portuguese territory, but Macao’s heyday was over.

After the military coup and the revolution in Portugal in 1974, China was offered to regain the territory but declined. When the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1979, Macao was instead given the position of “Chinese Territory under Portuguese Administration” with the governor and state aid from Portugal.

Since the British-Chinese agreement on Hong Kong was signed, negotiations have also taken place on Macao’s future. In 1987, the governments of Lisbon and Beijing agreed on a Hong Kong-like solution, and on December 20, 1999, Macao was incorporated in China as a “special administrative region” with the promise of maintaining its lifestyle and capitalist economy for at least 50 years. Businessman Edmund Ho Hau-wah was named China’s governor of the region. He was re-elected in 2004.

To his assistance, Macau’s leader has a local government. There is also a partially-elected legislative council (the number of seats was increased from 29 to 33 in connection with the 2013 election). Important decisions are made at the highest level in Beijing.

In the summer of 2009, Fernando Chui was appointed to succeed Edmund Ho as the area’s chief executive. Fernando Chui was re-elected in August 2014 for another five-year term. The election committee that appointed him had been increased by 100 members to 400. Before that, democracy activists tried to hold an unofficial vote among the residents. The vote was about whether Macao’s next leader would be directly elected in the general elections of the people in 2019. However, the police intervened and quashed the vote. In August 2019, Ho Iat Seng won the election for new leader in Macau and in September he was appointed to the post by the central government in Beijing, the capital city of China. Ho Iat Seng and the new Macau government took office in December the same year.

In the last parliamentary elections in September 2017, the people appointed 14 of the 33 members (12 seats go to various professional and social groups, while seven seats are appointed directly by the Macau leader). As in previous elections, Beijing-friendly groups or representatives of the gaming industry won. They took home nine of the people-elected seats, while pro-democracy parties got five seats, one more than in the 2013 election.

In the 2017 election, a young democracy activist, Sulu Sou, was elected, which judges thought was a result of the Macau population’s dissatisfaction with the authorities’ handling of a powerful storm that had caused great havoc just before the election. But it wasn’t long before the Legislative Assembly decided to exclude Sulu Sou so that a legal process could be initiated against him. He was accused of civil disobedience in connection with previous protests and he was one of the leaders of the 2014 democracy protests. Sulu Sou claimed that the political motives behind the parliamentarians’ exclusion of him were low.

Asian Countries

Country Country Military expenditure as a share of GDP (percent) Military expenditure share of central government budget (percent)
Afghanistan Afghanistan 1.2 (2019) 4.2 (2019)
Bahrain Bahrain 3.7 (2019) 12.1 (2019)
Bangladesh Bangladesh 1.3 (2019) 9.7 (2019)
Bhutan Bhutan
Brunei Brunei 3.3 (2019) 9.5 (2019)
Burma Burma 1.4 (2005) 11.9 (2005)
Philippines Philippines 1.0 (2019) 4.5 (2019)
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 5.6 (2014) 17.0 (2014)
India India 2.4 (2019) 8.8 (2019)
Indonesia Indonesia 0.7 (2019) 4.1 (2019)
Iraq Iraq 3.5 (2019) 7.8 (2019)
Iran Iran 2.3 (2019) 13.3 (2019)
Israel Israel 5.3 (2019) 13.2 (2019)
Japan Japanese 0.9 (2019) 2.5 (2019)
Yemen Yemen 4.0 (2014) 14.3 (2014)
Jordan Jordan 4.7 (2019) 15.2 (2019)
Cambodia Cambodia 2.3 (2019) 9.1 (2019)
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 1.1 (2019) 5.0 (2019)
China China 1.9 (2019) 5.4 (2019)
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan 1.5 (2019) 4.1 (2019)
Kuwait Kuwait 5.6 (2019) 10.5 (2019)
Laos Laos 0.2 (2013) 0.8 (2013)
Lebanon Lebanon 4.2 (2019) 13.8 (2019)
Malaysia Malaysia 1.0 (2019) 4.4 (2019)
Maldives Maldives
Mongolia Mongolia 0.7 (2019) 2.3 (2019)
Nepal Nepal 1.6 (2019) 4.5 (2019)
North Korea North Korea
Oman Oman 8.8 (2019) 20.3 (2019)
Pakistan Pakistan 4.0 (2019) 18.4 (2019)
Qatar Qatar 1.5 (2010) 4.9 (2010)
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 8.0 (2019) 20.3 (2019)
Singapore Singapore 3.2 (2019) 21.4 (2019)
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 1.9 (2019) 10.4 (2019)
South Korea South Korea 2.7 (2019) 12.1 (2019)
Syria Syria 4.1 (2010) 13.6 (2010)
Tajikistan Tajikistan 1.2 (2015) 3.8 (2015)
Taiwan Taiwan
Thailand Thailand 1.3 (2019) 6.3 (2019)
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan 2.9 (1999) 15.0 (1999)
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan 3.6 (2018) 1.4 (2003)
Vietnam Vietnam 2.0 (2011) 7.3 (2011)
East Timor East Timor 1.0 (2019) 2.2 (2019)


Macao retained its capitalist economic system after it became part of China in 1999. The economy is open and strongly dependent on the gaming industry. Macao is the only place in China where casino games are allowed. The increasing flow of tourists from the rest of China is also an important source of income.

The most important industries are casino games, which account for 87 percent of government revenue, and tourism. There are a handful of casino companies. But the decision makers are striving to broaden Macao’s economic base.

After two years of economic crises from 2014, when the income from the casino business declined, growth accelerated again towards the end of the 2010s.

Many tourists, especially from the rest of China where casino games are banned, are annually attracted to “Asia’s Las Vegas” – Macao is the world’s largest gaming center. Others come to take part in the cultural and historical attractions of the territory.

In the 1990s, bloody deals between rival leagues, triads, threatened to scare off tourists. Today, Macao, Hong Kong and China work together to fight organized crime. In the second half of the 1990s, Macao was shaken by a widespread corruption scandal with links to a local government official. Corruption has continued to be a major problem in the area.