credit to firstname.lastname@example.org Not all nations are created equal, a country that has abundant natural resources does not need to import as many raw materials, and has opportunity to increase its economic strength through income gained from resources export. These materials are the primary factors of production and the availability of particular natural resources gives that country a comparative advantage in trade. Those who have few, little or no resource, will need to import everything for their industries. They must compete with international bidders to secure stable supplies of resources, which basically means their industrial cost of production would also be higher. They are totally vulnerable to global commodities prices and any disruption to the supplies would bring their industries to halt. They must begin from zero as there is no natural endowment they can sell to others. Despite that though, there are currently 8 economies in the world who thrived under such environment (very limited or no resource), nature does not bless them much on lands, but gave them human brains instead, which they utilize to the fullest and become some of the world's most successful nations. Let us now recap countries who don't have much resources by its own, but still managed to contribute at least $200 billion worth of exports to the world; 1. Japan Exports: $787 billion Period of massive industrialization: Japanese post-war economic miracle (1950s - 1990s) A mountainous, volcanic island country, Japan has inadequate natural resources to support its growing economy and large population, hence dependent on imported raw materials. The country however, built up a very diversified, varieties of advanced industries that are among the world's most successful. Japan's major exports include automobiles, consumer electronics, computers, semiconductors, copper, iron and steel. Secondary key industries include petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, bio-industry, shipbuilding, aerospace, textiles, and processed foods. The Japanese economy however, has stagnated, and was overtaken by China in 2010. It is now the world's 3rd largest economy. 2. South Korea Exports: $552 billion Period of massive industrialization: Miracle on the Han river (1960s - 1990s) Having very little natural resources (most of the mineral deposits in Korean peninsular is ironically located in North Korea), South Korea has always suffered from overpopulation and its industries highly dependent on foreign-imported materials. But South Korea, in the most famous example given by World Bank, went from an African standard nation (in par with Ghana) in the 1960s to one of the world's leading industrial powerhouse today. Major exports of South Korea include semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, automotive, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals, high tech electronics and information displays. The South Korean economy is still expanding and is one of the best performer among developed nations. South Korea is currently the 15th largest economy in the world. 3. Italy Exports: $525 billion Period of massive industrialization: Italian economic miracle (1950s - 1980s, interrupted in 1970s) Though Italy doesn't have much bustling skyscrapers, it is one of the world's leading economy and industrial nation. The main weakness Italy has over other major European powers however, is the lack of resources. Italy has few natural resources, and most raw materials needed for manufacturing are imported (the country imports 99.7% of its solid fuels demand, 92.5% of oil, 91.2% of natural gas) Left in ruins after World War 2, the country witnessed a period of rapid growth, transforming itself from a poor, mainly agricultural nation into a major industrial power until it was interrupted by the 1970s economic, political turmoil and social unrest. Major exports of Italy include engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, automotive, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; refined metals and high-end luxurious consumer products. The Italian economy has stagnated and is now plagued by high level of debts. At its height in 1991, the Italian economy was the 4th largest in the world. It was re-overtaken by both France and the United Kingdom and is now the 8th largest economy. 4. Hong Kong Exports: $438 billion Period of massive industrialization: Industrialization of Four Asian Tigers (1960s - 1990s)Hong Kong, due to its size, has very little arable land and natural resources, so it imports most of its food and raw materials. Industrialization took place during the 1950s and 1960s, changing Hong Kong from an entrepot-reliance city into an international financial hub. Hong Kong however, has been losing its manufacturing industries since 1990s, with 80% of them now largely shifted to mainland China. What's remain in Hong Kong is the light and high-tech industries. Hong Kong is the world's largest entrepot, the city does not produce much, but it imports semi-manufacture, refine and assemble them, then re-export them at higher value. 96% of Hong Kong's exports are made up from re-exports. Major exports of Hong Kong include textiles & clothing, electronics, plastics, toys, watches and clocks. The rest are re-exports. The economy of Hong Kong is still growing thanks to its close connection to China. Hong Kong is currently the 40th largest economy in the world. 5. Singapore Exports: $415 billion Period of massive industrialization: Industrialization of Four Asian Tigers (1960s - 1990s) With no natural resources and having the smallest population in this list, Singapore shows the world how a tiny island can likewise become one of the world's most prosperous and advanced economy. Having virtually nothing in its island, Singapore has to import everything it needs, including water (from neighboring Malaysia) A leading entrepot like Hong Kong, 48% of Singaporean exports are made up from re-exports (importing raw goods, refine and re-export them), but unlike Hong Kong, Singapore has a strong manufacturing industries of its own. The tiny island produces 10% of world's semiconductor wafer. Major exports of Singapore include machinery and equipment, electronics, semiconductor, consumer goods, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals and refined oil. The rest are re-exports. The economy of Singapore is still surging, with compliments to good governance and strategic economic policies. Singapore is currently the 37th largest economy in the world. 6. Belgium Exports: $332 billion Period of massive industrialization: European postwar reconstruction (1960s - 1990s) Except for its coal, which is no longer economical to exploit, Belgium has virtually no natural resources. Belgium must import and is heavily reliance on foreign raw materials, and thus is very vulnerable to global market and commodities prices. The country, surrounded by industrial powerhouse the likes of Germany, France and the United Kingdom, has never got a chance to build up strong manufacturing base, instead it focuses on niche industries, especially light and high-tech industries. Belgium for instance, has the largest diamond cutting industry (Antwerp) in the world. The country is also a leading entrepot in Europe, where it imports raw materials and semi-finished goods that are further processed and re-exported. Major exports of Belgium include machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs. The rest are re-exports. The economy of Belgium has slowed down significantly amid Eurozone crisis, but still show a better growth than most of developed Europe. Belgium is currently the 23rd largest economy in the world. 7. Switzerland Exports: $322 billion Period of massive industrialization: European postwar reconstruction (1950s - 1970s)Switzerland is sort of different from others in the list - in that it is landlocked, but the country proved that such inconvenient is not a barrier to becoming one of the world's leading exporter. Switzerland has virtually no natural resources, and its annual trade balance is usually in the red, owing to the economy's reliance on large quantities of imported raw materials for industry. Surrounded by major industrial nations (i.e. Germany, France, Italy), Switzerland, like Belgium, has no chance of establishing a strong manufacturing base. It instead, focuses in niche industries, specifically light and agricultural industries. Switzerland has very strong food processing and confectionery industry, producing multinational food company such as Nestle. The Swiss also excelled in luxurious watch-manufacturing, with well-known global brands such as Rolex and Swatch. Major exports of Switzerland include machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products and foodstuffs, and the country is the 19th largest economy in the world. 8. Taiwan Exports: $307 billion Period of massive industrialization: Taiwan Miracle (1970s - 2000s) During the 50 years of Japanese colonial rule, Japan extensively swept up the natural resources of Taiwan. By the end of World War 2, Taiwan has been pretty much devoid of its resources. Towards the 1950s, Taiwan was a rural, backwater island with living standard on par with the nation of Congo in Africa. Due to the lack of natural resources, Taiwan is forced to and is heavily reliant on foreign imports of raw materials, where up to 98% of its domestic industrial needs are to be imported. The island however, experienced rapid industrialization which transformed it into the world's no.1 hi-tech electronics and semiconductor manufacturing hub. In the 1980s, Taiwan had become an economic power, with a mature and diversified economy, solid presence in international markets and huge foreign exchange reserves. By 2010, Taiwan replaced former colonial master Japan as the world's top producer of semiconductor. Major exports of Taiwan include computers, electronics, semiconductor, flat panels, machinery; metals; textiles, plastics, chemicals; optical, photographic, measuring and medical instruments. The economy of Taiwan is currently experiencing upward trajectory growth due to global consumer electronics boom, with worldwide consumer electronics spending expected to reach $1 trillion in 2012. Taiwan is the 27th largest economy in the world.
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