The Far East is a term used to describe the geographical, economic, and cultural area that encompasses Eastern Russia (Siberia in particular), East Asia, and Southeast Asia. In some instances, Pacific island nations are also included as part of the Far East. Use of this phrase dates back to 12th century Europe, when the ruling class, explorers, traders, and travelers took an eastern route to reach this area. It became common practice to call this region the Far East because it is the farthest of the 3 Eastern Asian regions, which are the: Near East, the Middle East, and the Far East. During the reign of the British Empire, the term became popular and was used to refer to any area east of British India.
Cultural Context Of The Far East
In addition to having a geographical context, the term Far East also refers to specific shared cultural traits. This shared culture explains why Australia and New Zealand, which are located further east from Europe than any other country, are not considered part of the Far East location. The use of this phrase is believed to have a connotation of being exotic in comparison with European cultures. It is because of this that the term is criticized by some as Eurocentric, by placing Europe at the center of the map and referring to other countries and the “East” or “West”. Additionally, the idea that the Far East encompasses a somehow more exotic lifestyle and culture suggests that European culture is the norm against which all other cultures should be compared. Despite this Eurocentrism, the term is still widely used across most media outlets.
Which Countries Are In The Far East?
The following countries are considered to be located in the Far East: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Siberia, Taiwan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Economy Of The Far East
The economy of the Far East, sometimes referred to as simply East Asia, is considered one of the fastest growing in the world. This region has a wealth of natural resources and low-cost labor that have allowed the economies here to flourish. Additionally, recent political changes have created a friendlier environment for private investors and business owners. These policies have increased foreign trade, government revenue, and public education.
The first successful Far East economy was Hong Kong, while it was still a British colony. In the 1960’s, this country developed its textile and manufacturing industries and 10 years later, it became an important global financial center. Industrialization next occurred in South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. The economy of Macau also began developing, with a focus on textiles and gambling centers. These areas drew in significant foreign investments and by 2007, Macau became the number 1 destination in the world for gambling.
Today, five of the countries within the Far East economies are considered to have a developed status. These countries include: South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. China has the largest economy (the 2nd largest in the world) and currently has the largest potential for growth.