Continents of earth in terms of business environment

Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world. Globalization is not new, though. For thousands of years, people—and, later, corporations—have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances, such as through the famed Silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe during the Middle Ages. Likewise, for centuries, people and corporations have invested in enterprises in other countries. In fact, many of the features of the current wave of globalization are similar to those prevailing before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

But policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration so large that many observers believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by 20 times, and from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled, from $468 billion to $827 billion. Distinguishing this current wave of globalization from earlier ones, author Thomas Friedman has said that today globalization is “farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper.” This current wave of globalization has been driven by policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. In the years since the Second World War, and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted freemarket economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating myriad new opportunities for international trade and investment. Governments also have negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to commerce and have established international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investment. Taking advantage of new opportunities in foreign markets, corporations have built foreign factories and established production and marketing arrangements with foreign partners. A defining feature of globalization, therefore, is an international industrial and financial business structure. Technology has been the other principal driver of globalization. Advances in information technology, in particular, have dramatically transformed economic life. Information technologies have given all sorts of individual economic actors—consumers, investors, businesses—valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic opportunities, including faster and more informed analyses of economic trends around the world, easy transfers of assets, and collaboration with far-flung partners. Globalization is deeply controversial, however. Proponents of globalization argue that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their standards of living, while opponents of globalization claim that the creation of an unfettered international free market has benefited multinational corporations in the Western world at the expense of local enterprises, local cultures, and common people. Resistance to globalization has therefore taken shape both at a popular and at a governmental level as people and governments try to manage the flow of capital, labor, goods, and ideas that constitute the current wave of globalization.

To find the right balance between benefits and costs associated with globalization, citizens of all nations need to understand how globalization works and the policy choices facing them and their societies.

the paper adopts a political-economy perspective on the prospects for reform of Africa’s business climate. There are differences between African countries. however. considering African attitudes to business and the fractured nature of African business sectors as between indigenous. Finally. minority and foreign investors.THE CONTINENT OF AFRICAN The AFRICAN conceptual framework is based on the newer theories that see the evolution of comparative advantage as influenced by the business climate—a key public good—and by external economies between clusters of firms entering in related sectors. this slows their impact and raises the possibility that countries settle into a low-productivity equilibrium.39 Profile: Founded in South Africa in 1862. This gave subsidiary Stanbic Bank Nigeria Limited significant presence in the Nigerian market. and also suggest the importance of high indirect costs and businessenvironment-related losses in depressing the productivity of African firms relative to those in other countries. though imprecisely measured. Standard Bank Group is Africa’s largest company and operates in 38 countries around the world. Macroeconomic data from purchasing power parity (PPP). In the same month. BEST COMPANIES IN AFRICA 1.Standard Bank Group Rank in Africa: 1 Forbes Global Rank: 266 Country: South Africa Industry: Banking Sales ($Bil): 18. with the company acquiring controlling interest in IBTC Chartered Bank in Nigeria in August 2007.54 Assets ($Bil): 137. The latter have far higher productivity and a greater propensity to export. Africa’s difficult business climate and the tendency to overcome this by working in ethnic networks slows new entry and may decrease the incentives of key parts of the business community form constituting an aggressive pressure group for reform. Standard Bank Group also acquired a 67% share of the Turkish . This finding is compared with firm-level evidence from surveys undertaken for Investment Climate Assessments in 2000-2004. however. including 18 in Africa.41 Profits ($Bil): 1. Even though reforms are moving forward in several countries. with some showing evidence of a stronger business community and better business climate.97 Market Value ($Bil): 17. These confirm a pattern of generally low productivity. estimates confirms that Africa is high-cost relative to its levels of income and productivity. 2007 was a busy year for the company.

In October 2007 the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China acquired a stake of about 20% in Standard Bank for US$5. FirstRand has a strong presence in South Africa. they produce petrol and diesel profitably from coal and natural gas using Fischer-Tropsch Dundas Ünlü Securities and now operates in Turkey under the name of Standard Ünlü. The company has factories at Sasolburg and Secunda and has taken a stake in projects under construction in Qatar (Oryx GTL). where it employs 42 882 people and has a retail franchise footprint of 766 branches and 4997 ATM'S in Southern Africa alone.76 Market Value ($Bil): 32.97 Market Value ($Bil): 17. ICBC will also get two seats on the board of directors.41 Profits ($Bil): 1.41 Assets ($Bil): 16. Sasol is the largest company on the continent involved in mining. 3. energy. Iran (Arya Polymers) and Nigeria (Escravos GTL). In particular.39 Profile: FirstRand was created in April 1998 through the merger of the financial service interests of Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited (AAC) and RMB Holdings Limited (RMBH).65 Profile: Founded in 1950. .91 Profits ($Bil): 2.5bn. 2.Sasol Rank in Africa: 3 Forbes Global Rank: 349 Country: South Africa Industry: Oil & Gas Sales ($Bil): 13.54 Assets ($Bil): 137. Half the stake will come from ICBC acquiring existing shares and half from new shares. With International operations on all the continents. chemicals and synfuels.FirstRand Rank in Africa: 2 Forbes Global Rank: 308 Country: South Africa Industry: Banking Sales ($Bil): 18.

Europe and the United Kingdom.Life Insurance cluster consists of Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Employee Benefits (SEB). Santam.65 Profile: Established in 1918. . driven by Sanlam Investment Management and 11 other businesses.72 Profile: Launched in 1994. The Sanlam Group conducts its business through Sanlam Limited.MTN Group Rank in Africa: 4 Forbes Global Rank: 522 Country: South Africa Industry: Telecommunications Sales ($Bil): 7. the corporate head office and four business clusters .03 Assets ($Bil): 47.4. Short-term Insurance cluster.51 Assets ($Bil): 13.29 Profits ($Bil): 1. and the Independent Financial Services cluster invests in independent entities and intermediary business in the financial services industry. Sanlam is one of Africa’s leading financial services group based in South Africa. 5. The company is also involved elsewhere in Africa. MTN Group is Africa’s largest telecommunications company and is active over 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. As at the end of December 2006. the Investment cluster.44 Market Value ($Bil): 29.35 Profits ($Bil): 1. MTN recorded more than 40 million subscribers across its operations.32 Market Value ($Bil): 5.Sanlam Rank in Africa: 5 Forbes Global Rank: 631 Country: South Africa Industry: Insurance Sales ($Bil): 10.

Australia has among the world's best competition laws and an independent judiciary. Sydney offers global city status at an affordable price and is a less expensive city than Seoul. Hong Kong and Singapore. NSW has a deregulated financial system with no controls on foreign exchange and a deregulated telecommunications market. Flexible. Australia's intellectual property protection is ranked number two in the Asia Pacific and number ten globally. The legal system in Australia is a mixture of common law and statute and both domestic and foreign companies have the same standing before the law. Competitive business costs NSW continues to prove its competitive advantage as an Asia Pacific business base by offering the threefold benefits of lower salaries for highly skilled labour. Tokyo. There are no restrictions on capital flow.THE CONTINENT OF AUSTRALIA Strength. profit remittances. spans the closing of the North American business day and the opening of business in Europe. . capital repatriation. London. New South Wales (NSW) has one of the lowest risk business environments in the Asia Pacific. Favourable tax system The company income tax rate is 30% in Australia. Sydney's market trades ahead of Tokyo. Hong Kong. low-cost infrastructure. ten hours ahead of GMT. economical operating costs and comprehensive. open regulation and transparent government policy make NSW an advantageous base for international companies in the Asia Pacific. Time zone advantage Sydney's time zone. Outgoings for salaries and office space in Sydney are well below those of other major international business capitals. accountable financial practices. Paris and Singapore. transfers or royalties and trade-related payments. stability and open government Australia is a politically and economically stable democratic nation that provides easy access to Asia Pacific markets.

business support services and superior commercial property. Fibre-optic is the predominant technology. initially to seven cities surrounding and including Sydney. Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) technology provides data speeds between 256 kbps to more than 2 Mbps. Educated workforce NSW is home to a multilingual and well educated workforce. The NSW Government is committed to providing an extensive. with more than 200 languages spoken in the State. wireless. In 2006. enabling an easy upgrade. Australia's immigration system may allow entry of specialist staff into Australia on a temporary or permanent basis where vacancies cannot be filled from the Australian labour market or through training programs.2 million residents speaking a language other than English at home in their homes as at the Census in 2001. reforming rail freight. satellite and microwave systems.NSW has a highly educated population and almost 25% of NSW residents were born overseas. giving companies and homes access to Internet speeds 30 to 50 times faster than standard dial-up service. the NSW Government has increased business appeal by cutting power bills for regional businesses. low cost wireless broadband network. and 91 per cent of them located in Sydney. Competitive pricing and a choice of carriers make international call costs among the lowest in the region. with 1. reducing port charges and streamlining the land-use planning approvals process. In regional NSW. Australian domestic networks consist of fibre-optic. link Australia with the US. utilities. Four high-capacity international fibre-optic cable networks. at more competitive costs than other major Asian business centres. Major networks are Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) based. World class infrastructure and communications NSW offers reliable communications. Sydney is also a major internet exchange point and telecommunications hub. Europe and Asia.2 terabit capacity. Sydney has a world-class telecommunications infrastructure. These language skills provide a cultural advantage for export-oriented Australian companies. More languages are spoken in NSW than in any other State. with almost 1. transport. more than two million employees in NSW or 64% of the total held post-school qualifications. .

United Kingdom as well as the rest of Asia continent. and is the largest bank both by net worth and customer base. More than 38. BEST COMPANIES IN AUSTRALIA 1. Perth. 2.Commonwealth Bank First established in early 20th century by the Australian government. which is a result of a merger between BHP and Billiton. The growth of NAB from a small outfit to the huge size today is mainly driven by merger and acquisition exercises. The Hague and Shanghai.Business and skilled migration New South Wales welcomes business migrants who plan to set up a business or invest in New South Wales. Johannesburg. is the world’s largest mining and resources company. The bank has major presence in Australia. Headquartered in Melbourne.000 people are employed with BHP Billiton. Singapore. Apart from its native country. BHP Billiton BHP Billiton. National Australia Bank (NAB) NAB is presently the number one banking and financial institution in Australia. National Australia Bank also operates in 10 other countries. Santiago. spanning across a 25-country operation. the bank has been named the Best Bank in the annual Australia Banking and Finance Award. the Commonwealth Bank rose steadily to become one of the ‘big four’ banks in the country. For many years. New Zealand. providing services to over 8 million customers. 3. . the company also has offices scattered around the world including in London. Houston.

the bank stands for Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited and is a premier player in the commercial and retail banking. which was acquired by a British corporation. just like BHP Billiton.4. The company’s original name came from a Spanish mining avenue. Rio Tinto Rio Tinto is an international corporation with core business in mining and resources. it is only natural to know that the bank has the biggest operations in Australia and New Zealand. It is also one of the largest coal mining companies in the world. As the name stands. industrial minerals. 5. ANZ Banking Commonly called ANZ. ANZ also has market presence in 25 other countries. who then eventually made its way to the world down under. diamonds and so on. with particular to the South Pacific and Asia region. Among of the commodities produced by Rio Tinto are iron ore. copper. . In addition to the two countries.

The results of each assessment are made public [COM/2002/276]. In order to improve the European business environment. Nevertheless.3]. to improve the environment in which Union business operates. financial and administrative framework [Council Resolution]. to ensure that Member States do not complicate matters when transposing Community legislation into national law. environment. the Council called on the Member States and the Commission to examine how the business environment for SMEs could be improved by removing the structural impediments resulting from the legal. All proposals presented by the Commission to the Council and the Parliament are accompanied by an impact assessment describing their likely effects on businesses. because of the complex nature of certain European provisions and inadequate knowledge of the European legislation concerned [see section 3. in particular SMEs. the Council recommended to the Member States to implement programmes of administrative simplification covering both new legislative proposals and existing legislation and to examine the impact of all proposed legislation or rules on the administrative burden on enterprises [Council Recommendation]. Through the "impact assessment method". unless otherwise specified in the contract and it harmonised the interest on late payments at seven percentage points above the European Central Bank rate. The Community's legislative authorities are thus kept fully informed of the implications of a proposal on business and employment [see section 4. in general. Therefore. etc. the environment and health). The European institutions try. This directive obliged the Member States to limit the deadline for payment at thirty days from the invoice date. concerning businesses. a directive aims at combating late payment in commercial transactions in the public as well as the private sector [Directive 2000/35]. is not in conflict with the common objective of seeing enterprises reach their full development in the single market. trade.). social. employment. The European Union should therefore ensure that the impact of its legislation on enterprises. It is advisable. however. the Commission analyses the direct and indirect implications of a proposed measure (e. in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. indeed. In a resolution on realising the full potential of SMEs. The impact assessment also gives details of the consultations that have taken place with the trade organisations concerned by the proposal [Council Resolution]. so as to help companies take advantage of new commercial opportunities on partner countries markets and.g. businessmen often regard that legislation as an impediment to the entrepreneurial spirit. It also provided for retention of title by the seller until the .3]. to take into account the problems and conditions which are specific to SMEs when drawing up and implementing common policies (regional. and on job creation.THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE In the run-up to the completion of the single market the Community has endeavoured in particular to remove any obstacles to cross-border business activity. research.

Most partners in the Network are operated by consortia of qualified regional organisations such as chambers of commerce. Specific schemes for SMEs exist in the form of actions on collective and cooperative research. integrated projects and specific targeted research projects.time of payment of the purchase price and accelerated recovery procedures for undisputed debts with a maximum 90 days between the lodging of the creditor's action and the time when the writ of execution becomes enforceable. they do not have the same facility of access to long-term finance as larger companies. the Enterprise Europe Network . This is why. characteristics which qualify them well to contribute to the innovative process. see section 18. creativity and dynamism. The services of the Network are specifically designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but are also available to all businesses. research centres and Universities across Europe. Therefore the seventh Community R & D programme encourages research activities involving SMEs [Decision 1982/2006. provision of information and advice.4]. access to private finance. finding a business partner. for the most part. principally via European organisations and funds. . SMEs participate. Firstly. The Community legislation and programs as well as business opportunities on the large European market are still not well known by businesses. secondly. By their nature it is generally more difficult for smaller enterprises to participate in research and development programmes (R & D). last but not least. in the activities implemented under the priority thematic areas of research within networks of excellence. These services include information on EU legislation. the administrative costs of applying to participate and organising the required cooperation are relatively high for SMEs and. regional development agencies and university technology centres.3] offers support and advice to businesses across Europe and helps them make the most of the opportunities in the European Union.1. In addition. funding opportunities for businesses. On the other hand. the creation of innovative start-ups. which is a part of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) [see section 17. Joint actions for innovation and SMEs aim notably: at the rationalisation and coordination of networks providing information and assistance on the Community's research and innovation activities such as the CORDIS information service. small businesses often have greater flexibility. The Network is made up of 600 local contact points employing a total of nearly 3 000 experienced staff in more than 40 countries. benefit from innovation networks in a region and.

300 Trade description : Exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. .BEST COMPANIES IN EUROPE 1.ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC (LONDON. along with interests in chemicals.L. mil USD) Net Income (2009. UNITED KINGDOM) Operating revenue/Turnover (2009. mil USD) : 246. mil USD) : 16. Also active in gas power and solar power generation.000 Trade description : Group are engaged in all principal aspects of the oil and natural gas industry. UNITED KINGDOM) Operating revenue/Turnover (2009. power generation and renewable energy. marketing. (BP) (LONDON. BP P.807 Date of incorporation: 14/04/1909 Employees (2009) : 80.839 Net Income (2009. refining.. supply and transportatio and manufacturing and marketing of petrochemicals.C.754 Date of incorporation : 5/02/2002 Employees (2009) : 101. mil USD) : 12.

. Salzgitter. mil USD) : 162. GERMANY) Operating revenue/Turnover (2009. There are factories in Wolfsburg.312 Date of incorporation : 28/05/1937 Employees (2009) : 329. Braunschweig. tools and machinery.423 Trade description : Germany's largest manufacturer of motor vehicles. mil USD) : 1.VOLKSWAGEN AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT (WOLFSBURG. Zwickau and abroad. engines and accessories as well as of technical systems. Emden. Hannover.919 38440 Net Income (2009. Kassel.

consumer spending.[17] Total public and private debt was $50. which is almost twice that of any other country. the world's second largest national economy. the U. almost three times the size of the economy of China. It also boosts the world's largest gold reserves and the world's largest gold depository. The US Dollar holds about 60% of world reserves. a low unemployment rate. the United States economy absorbed savings from the rest of the world. Historically. the American population is young and growing when compared to Europe or Japan. the United States faces retiring baby boomers who have already begun withdrawing from their Social Security accounts. The United States public debt is in excess of $13 trillion and continues to grow at a rate of about $3.[16] A large contributor to the country's success has also been a very strong and stable currency.5 times GDP.[20] The country is one of the world's largest and most influential financial markets. In 2009. increasingly by foreign investors.2 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2010. In 2009. which controls only about 24%. Since the 1960's.[12] By purchasing power parity. The phenomenon is subject to discussion among economists.[13] About 50% of the entire world's millionaire population reside in the United States. however. the economy of the U. home to major stock and commodities exchanges like NASDAQ. is also larger than the national economy of second-ranked China. The United States is also home to 139 of the world's 500 largest companies.S. It has been the world's largest national economy since 1870 and remains the world's largest manufacturer. Its nominal GDP was estimated to be $14.[19] The American labor market has attracted immigrants from all over the world and has one of the world's highest migration rates.83 billion each day.THE CONTINENT OF NORTH AMERICA The economy of the NORTH AMERICA is the world's largest national economy. or 3.381. the Euro. AMEX and CME. as compared to its top competitor. and high levels of research and capital investment funded by both national and. . coupled with government health care spending constituted 70% of the American economy. because of decreasing saving rates. the 6th highest in the world.S. economy also maintains a very high level of output per capita. it was estimated to have a per capita GDP (PPP) of $46. down from first in 2008-2009 due to the economic crisis. the New York Federal Reserve Bank. in the Global Competitiveness Report. The U. 40% of the world's billionaires are American.[15] The US is also home to the world's largest stock exchange.[18] Domestic financial assets totaled $131 trillion and domestic financial liabilities totaled $106 trillion. Like other developed countries. representing 19% of the world's manufacturing output. economy has maintained a stable overall GDP growth rate. NYSE.[14] Furthermore. The United States is ranked second.S. the New York Stock Exchange.3 trillion in 2009.

Exxon and Mobil. The company markets its products under the brands of Exxon. The company contributes up to 20% of the overall retail market in the United States.8 billion Industry: Oil and Gas/Petroleum Previous ranking: 2 Ranked second last year. which is part of a legacy of John D. Wal-Mart is currently the largest private employer in the world. ExxonMobil. Puerto Rico and Canada.BEST COMPANIES IN NORTH AMERICA 1. which used to be two separate companies.8 billion Industry: Retail/Merchandise Previous ranking: 1 Founded by the legendary Sam Walton in 1962. Mexico. Exxon Mobil Revenue: US$372. Apart from maintaining its position. Chevron Revenue: US$210. Wal-Mart also has respectable presence in a number of foreign countries including Japan. Apart from its native country.8 billion Industry: Oil and Gas/Petroleum Previous ranking: 4 . 3. Brazil. Rockefeller. Wal-Mart Revenue: US$378. Argentina. merged in 1999 to become the world’s largest oil and gas company. the company also recorded the highest profit among the companies in the list for its 5th year in a row. retains its place. Mobil and Esso. 2. United Kingdom.

In fact. ConocoPhillips is also one of the companies in the oil and gas industry with biggest investment in the production of alternative energy. the company remains as one of the largest automakers. GM employs more than 200. Cadillac. 4. the company is in some sort of financial turmoil. General Motors Revenue: US$182. hydrogen fuel and so on. there was no profit recorded for last year’s ending.000 people worldwide. after the company was announced as one of the biggest polluters in the United States.3 billion Industry: Automotive/Parts Previous ranking: 3 While dropping one position does not sound like a big deal. Still. with the current headquarter located in Houston. fuel cells. as far as the profit is concerned. Chevrolet. The company operates in more than 40 countries employing close to 40. marketing.6 Industry: Oil and Gas/Petroleum Previous ranking: 5 ConocoPhillips was created out of merger between Conoco and Phillips in 2002. 5. with a poor loss of close to US40 billion. employing close to 60. Texas. ConocoPhillips Revenue: US$178.000 employees. as well as power generation. United States. transportation. Chevron Corporation is headquartered in California and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. . and market a range of wellknown brands including Buick. despite being chased by Japanese rival Toyota. refining. The company is presently in an interesting phase of developing advanced energy technology which include photovoltaics. Opel. GM Daewoo.000 employees worldwide.Established more than one hundred years ago. Pontiac and Saab. The company has major engagement in exploration and production.

THE CONTINENT OF SOUTH AMERICA The economy of South America comprises around 382 million people living in twelve nations and three territories. Most South American factories produce food items. Brazil's economy. on the other hand. soybeans. On an exchange rate basis Brazil (the seventh largest economy in the world and the second largest in the Americas) leads the way in total amount of exports at $137. Colombia. An important factor that is crucial to the success of industries is importing and exporting. sugarcane. cocoa. South America is experiencing great economic development.12 billion and Argentina with 46.46 billion. Uruguay and Peru growing their economies by over 8% per annum. rice. It contributes 6% of the world's population. is expected to grow by a more sluggish pace during the year. South America relies heavily on the exporting of goods. Some of these companies import all the parts and raw materials needed for manufacturing which limits the amount of profits they can receive for the item. and airplanes. An organization called Mercosur helps to expand trade. consumer goods. beef. with Venezuela. trucks. corn. Bananas and shrimp are also important agricultural products for many countries (like Ecuador). and reduce tariffs among member Transport At the beginning of August 2008. Argentina. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his colleagues from Argentina and Brazil spoke about Latin American integration and Chavez threw an ambitious idea out: a train that would connect Venezuela's capital (Caracas) with Argentina's (Buenos Aires). Manufacturing Industries are also important to South America’s economy. .8 billion dollars followed by Chile at 58. improve transportation. or building materials. citrus. and cities in between.[1] Economic sectors Agriculture Main products include: Coffee. Larger countries also produce cars. wheat. As of early 2007.

gas Oil.BEST COMPANIES OF SOUTH AMERICA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Petroleos Mexicanos Petroleos de Venezuela Pemex Exploracion y Produccion Petrobras Pemex Refinacion Pemex Gas y Petroquimica Comision Federal de Electricidad Mexico Venezuela Mexico Brazil Mexico Mexico Mexico Oil. gas Oil. gas Electricity . gas Oil. gas Chem.. gas Oil.

Japan. Six further states lie partly in Asia. the wealth of Asia differs widely between. with the exception of Japan and South Korea. Saudi Arabia. As in all world regions. states. countries in the Middle East depend more on the production of commodities. environments. While east Asian and southeast Asian countries generally rely on manufacturing and trade for growth.the two fastest growing major economies in the world.THE CONTINENT OF ASIA The economy of Asia comprises more than 4 billion people (60% of the world population) living in 46 different states. South Korea. and within. is currently undergoing rapid growth and industrialization spearheaded by China and India . China has the largest economy in Asia and the second largest economy in the world. United Arab Emirates.more than half of the world's total. for economic growth. historical ties and government systems. Asia. China. Over the years. its aim is . Indonesia and Iran. principally oil. Founded in 1967. economic. but are considered to belong to another region economically and politically. with rapid economic growth and large trade surplus with the rest of the world. and cultural organization of countries located in Southeast Asia. and Taiwan. Qatar. meaning a huge range of differing cultures. to Cambodia as one of the poorest. This is due to its vast size. The largest economies in Asia in terms of nominal GDP are Japan. Wealth (if measured by GDP per capita) is mostly concentrated in east Asian territories such as Hong Kong. followed by Japan and India as the world's third and fourth largest economies respectively. Trade blocs Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a group of Pacific Rim countries who meet with the purpose of improving economic and political ties Association of Southeast Asian Nations The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political. In terms of GDP by purchasing power parity. South Korea. Economies range from Japan. Asia has accumulated over US$4 trillion of foreign exchange reserves . as well in oil rich Middle Eastern countries such as Iran. as the world's second largest economy by nominal GDP. India.

Vietnam. Japan. Thailand. Philippines. cultural. both Asian and European. The countries meet annually every November in summits. Laos. Malaysia. Singapore and Indonesia. The Asian Currency Unit (ACU) is a proposed currency unit for the ASEAN "10+3" economic circle. India. Australia and New Zealand) which some have proposed may become in the future a trade bloc. in order to promote trade and investment facilitation. In 2005 ASEAN was instrumental in establishing the East Asia Summit (involving all ASEAN members plus China. The main aims of CEPA are to eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barrier on substantially all the trade in goods between the foster cooperation and mutual assistance among members. Papua New Guinea is given an observer status. Brunei Darussalam. South Korea. and achieve liberalization of trade in services through reduction or elimination of substantially all discriminatory measures. the mainland of the People's Republic of China. Cambodia. the arrangements for which are far from certain and not yet clear. economic. (the exceptions . and the Republic of Korea). (ASEAN. and the Macau SAR government (signed on 18 October 2003). Arab League The Arab League is an association of Arab countries in Africa and Asia. Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) is an economic agreement between the People's Republic of China and both the Hong Kong SAR government (signed on 29 June 2003). The Arab League facilitates political. The current member countries of ASEAN are Myanmar (Burma). Japan. scientific and social programs designed to promote the interests of its member states. Commonwealth of Independent States Flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a confederation consisting of 12 of the 15 states of the former Soviet Union.

science and technology. Although the CIS has few supranational powers. SAARC encourages cooperation in agriculture. Pakistan. Sri Lanka. lawmaking and security. narcotics control and anti-terrorism. Nepal. It creates a framework for the creation of a free trade zone covering 1.6 billion people in India. namely Bangladesh. finance. Nepal. rural development. health. South Asia Free Trade Agreement (proposed) The South Asia Free Trade Agreement is an agreement reached at the 12th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit. it is more than a purely symbolic organization and possesses coordinating powers in the realm of trade. Pakistan. Bhutan and the Maldives. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. population control. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an association of 8 countries of South Asia. to be launched in 2005. culture. It has also promoted cooperation on democratisation and cross-border crime prevention.being the three Baltic states). The most significant issue for the CIS is the establishment of a full-fledged free trade zone / economic union between the member states. These countries comprise an area of 5 130 746 km² and a fifth of the population of the world. Bangladesh. India. Bhutan. . Maldives.

8 Technology Hardware & Equipment 6.0 77.BEST COMPANIES IN ASIA COMPANY China Mobile China Construction Bank BHP Billiton Rio Tinto MARKET VALUE SALES COUNTRY ($BIL) ($BIL) China China Australia Australia 257.1 Oil & Gas Operations 16.9 174.7 68.5 Materials 29.9 .7 133.7 Materials 160.7 77.9 136.1 Telecommunications Services 43.7 Telecommunications Services Sinopec-China Petroleum & Chemical China China Shenhua Energy Reliance Industries-RIL Nintendo China India Japan Bharti Airtel India 37.7 Oil & Gas Operations 11.2 Materials 34.0 Banking 59.0 199.9 INDUSTRY 47.

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