Editor's note: This year's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference, scheduled for March 26-29 in Boao, a coastal town in Hainan, is themed by "Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development." ZOOM with Zou Yue, a video series focusing on the latest and core topics on this year's BFA, will share with you some insights.
Asia, the most vibrant economy in the world. But what is behind the fast growth?
It is the people. Asians are some of the most driven on Earth. The tradition of discipline and diligence has been the core value in Asia for centuries.
The end of the World War II and Cold War has produced the quickest progressions from want to wealth in Asia. Agriculture and manufacturing took off, thanks to the productive skills of a large workforce. The unemployment rate in the Asia-Pacific remains the world's lowest at 4.1 percent.
Asians work hard. According to Beijing Normal University research, an average Chinese works above 2,000 hours every year. By contrast, an average worker from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries works some 1,700 hours.
But Asians understand that longer hours don't mean higher productivity.
Asians work hard, but they also organize smart.
Economists in the West fault industrial policies in Asia. But actually from Japan to South Korea, from Malaysia to China, consistent government support in Asia has fostered emerging industries like it did decades ago in Europe and North America.
Global trade has also served Asia well. A long supply chain and a vast labor pool have boosted Asian manufacturing because manufactured goods are much more freely traded than services. As people say, you can easily export scissors but not a barber.
Into the 21st century, Asians continue to shift lanes to a knowledge economy.
The continent has been increasing investment in technology. Its R&D spending as a share of GDP increased by 60 percent in 17 years, far above the 20 percent of North America and Western Europe.
The data-driven growth started by Japan and South Korea has spearheaded innovation in Asia. Now the Chinese are catching up. For example, Huawei and ZTE have won breakthrough mobile infrastructure contracts in developing and developed countries. Asia is now at a frontier. The only question is: Will Asians set the stage for the next generation of growth? I believe they will.
Script: Zou Yue
Video photographer: Wang Peng
Cover photo: Lou Shaozhen
Video and design: Wang Kailin, Li Linxi, Wang Dawei, Wu Chutian, Chen Shi, Yang Chuchu
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