I spent 3+ years overseas… and all of it was spent in East Asia. I lived and worked in both Taiwan as well as Hong Kong. I traveled to Singapore frequently. And I visited countries like South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines… even Indonesia.
The reason I feel compelled to discuss my trips abroad in today’s post is due to a term that you don’t hear much about anymore. Specifically, when I was younger, you used to hear about the emergence of the Fantastic Four Asian Tigers: Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
Internet super-hub "Wikipedia" explains that the term Four Asian Tigers refers to the economies of the aforementioned places. Although much of the world thinks the "Tigers" represent emerging markets, most experts recognize that each maintained rapid-fire growth grates and heavy industrialization between the 1960s and 1990s. By the turn of the century, each can be described as "fully developed."
In 2007, each country/territory has turned in exceptionally favorable gains in less than 6 months. The exchange-traded funds for each have offered up (through 6/22):
Each individual area has unique trials and tribulations. South Korea has political uncertainty with North Korea on its border. Taiwan moves in near tandem with the feisty semiconductor industry. And Hong Kong is often cast aside by decision-makers in China who look to bolster Shanghai.
All that said, it’s hard to argue that diversifying across the East Asian Tigers yields fabulous results. Indeed, if ever a group deserved to be dubbed the "Fantastic Four," it might be the real-life economies profiled here.