State of Asia: A Survey on Asia's Changing Landscape
A project led by Asia Society's 2018 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders
October 15, 2020
State of Asia assesses the changing landscape in Asia, with regards to issues of politics, economy, culture, and social institutions over time. The findings are based on a survey conducted within Asia Society’s network of leaders and experts in Q4 2019, prior to the World Health Organization classifying COVID-19 as a public health emergency and pandemic in 2020.
The work for the report started in late 2018, when Asia Society gathered a group of leaders representing over forty countries to convene for its annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in Manila, Philippines. Representing a wide range of professional sectors, the summit participants discussed topics ranging from environmental degradation to global terrorism to refugee crises. Conversations at the summit revealed a common theme: a seesaw between nationalism and globalism on the Asian continent. The discussions suggested a need to reassess Asia’s transnational challenges and regional dynamics—notably, the political, economic and social challenges facing the Asian continent today. The juxtaposition of regional cooperation, competition and confrontation convinced the Asia 21 Young Leaders Class of 2018 to elucidate the underlying causes and effects of these dynamics—elements that will shape how leaders think, interact and adapt as the global center of gravity continues to shift to Asia in the coming years.
10 Key Findings:
- 23% of respondents say corruption is the most problematic factor for working and doing business in their respective countries, followed by inadequate infrastructure (14.9%), policy instability (12.2%), inefficient government bureaucracy (8.1%), inefficient government bureaucracy (8.1%), government instability/coups (6.8%) and complexity of tax regulations (6.8%).
- Failure to adapt to climate change is the biggest risk to working and doing business in their respective countries in the next 10 years.
- An equal 61% of respondents say that both U.S. and China’s current political and economic influence are viewed negatively in their countries.
- Nearly 75% of respondents say that an EU-like union is not likely to emerge in Asia.
- Nearly 70% of respondents say that their country should participate in more multinational trade arrangements than they currently do.
- Over 60% of respondents say that social media shapes public opinion in their countries.
- Nearly 55% of respondents say people in their respective countries have an appetite for entrepreneurial risk and that companies/organizations embracing innovation grow rapidly.
- Over 40% of respondents agree that their governments do not respond effectively to changes.
- Digital literacy is becoming increasingly important in the modern workforce. But nearly 50% of respondents say the active population in their respective countries does not possess sufficient digital skills.
- As changing demographics throughout the world call for the expansion of healthcare accessibility and affordability, close to 45% of respondents say that not all individuals have access to health services.