Asia

Asia Industrial and Tertiary Activities

Among the macro-regions that until the end of the last century were still defined as “developing”, Asia must be considered, overall, the most industrialized, both at present and in the future. Until the seventies, the Asian industry was identified, in fact, with the Japanese one and, limited to the steel and textile sectors, Indian: Japan, in particular, emerged not only for the powerful engineering sectors (large integral cycle steel mills, which had brought it to third place in the world ranking, after the USSR and the United States; shipbuilding; automobile construction, in a phase of progressive affirmation) and petrochemicals (linked to the almost total energy dependence on crude oil imports), but also for electromechanics and the first generation of electronics, alongside more traditional industries, such as textiles (silk factories). Even then, Japanese companies, linked to the organizational model typical of large integrated industry, assumed a multinational character and began, through substantial investments abroad, a process of localization decentralization to which the 1973 “oil shock” gave a sudden impulse. The barriers opposed by European and North American industries to stem competition from Japanese products – often of lower quality, but extremely competitive in terms of prices – directed this decentralization towards the closest Asian countries, ready to borrow simple technologies (in particular, assembly), to which the local labor, at very low cost, was able to adapt immediately. It was thus outlined as already mentioned, the NIC group. In the remaining continental areas dominated Soviet heavy industry (engineering and chemical), located along the Trans-Siberian railway and in the regions of Central Asia, here above all as a support to the conquest of new agricultural spaces (machinery, fertilizers). Conversely, the industrialization projects of the oil countries of Southwest Asia, despite the enormous financial potential, clashed with the weakness of the internal markets, being areas with a low population density, and with geopolitical isolation, as demonstrated by the substantial bankruptcy of the Iranian project to locate a large steel center a located along the Trans-Siberian railway and in the regions of Central Asia, here above all as a support to the conquest of new agricultural spaces (machinery, fertilizers). Conversely, the industrialization projects of the oil countries of Southwest Asia as defined by countryaah, despite the enormous financial potential, clashed with the weakness of the internal markets, being areas with a low population density, and with geopolitical isolation, as demonstrated by the substantial bankruptcy of the Iranian project to locate a large steel center a located along the Trans-Siberian railway and in the regions of Central Asia, here above all as a support to the conquest of new agricultural spaces (machinery, fertilizers).

Conversely, the industrialization projects of the oil countries of Southwest Asia, despite the enormous financial potential, clashed with the weakness of the internal markets, being areas with a low population density, and with geopolitical isolation, as demonstrated by the substantial bankruptcy of the Iranian project to locate a large steel center a Bandar-e ‘Abbās: apart from some large crude oil refining plants, therefore, those capitals (the so-called “petrodollars”) were directed abroad or to support urban infrastructure interventions, in the service sector. Relatively isolated, and in any case aimed above all at relations with the Western world was the industrial development of Turkey, notable both in the basic sectors (engineering, petrochemical, cement) and properly manufacturing (textiles, food); and even more so that of Israel, where a structure founded on small size and high technology was decisively established, also as a function of territorial control and enhancement. Finally, from the 1990s, the role of the Chinese giant emerged. After a by now remote phase, in the 1950s, in which China seemed to be orienting itself towards borrowing the Soviet urban-industrial model, the Maoist “cultural revolution” had definitely reversed the trend, favoring the primary sector with the formation of “popular communes”, or rather integrated and self-sufficient economic units, which associated agriculture, industry and commerce. Since the 1980s, the new economic course marked a progressive – albeit contrasted – opening of the great country, with the creation, along the southern coastal strip, of “special economic zones”, where light industries (agri-food, textiles and clothing, electromechanical and electronic, chemical-pharmaceutical) projected towards foreign markets. § The Asian tertiary sector is characterized, in turn, by a marked dualism. On one side, services to families generally remain depressed, even in countries that have registered significant economic growth, however based on the exploitation of labor (including that of minors) and, therefore, generally devoid of any social protection. Widespread food shortages and low per capita incomes severely limit consumption, interacting with often primordial internal distribution structures. On the other hand, the financial and commercial centers of Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and some capitals of Southeast Asia have attracted the attention of the whole world for the degree of innovation and the dizzying growth recorded in the 1990s  at least before the crisis which revealed some worrying elements of fragility.

Asia Industrial Activities