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Interactive: Comparing Asian Powers to the U.S.

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Interactive: Comparing Asian Powers to the U.S.

Whether it’s the planning and execution of massive infrastructure projects like One Belt, One Road, or the dramatic increase in wealth occurring in the region, it’s clear that the economic boom in the East is rapidly expanding Asia’s influence on the world stage.

More importantly, this growing economic might is also translating to geopolitical influence – and over time, it could have a paradigm-shifting impact on the balance of power in the world.

How to Compare Asian Powers

Today’s interactive infographic on the Asia Power Index comes to us from the Lowy Institute, and it introduces a methodology to compare Asian powers using macro categories such as economic resources, military capabilities, cultural influence, diplomatic influence, and defense networks.

Each category is informed by a number of indicators – and there are 114 metrics in total. They include quantifiable numbers from public sources on things like military expenditures, global exports, global investment outflows, number of supercomputers, satellites launched, etc.

Interestingly, all of the data used to score powers in Asia is also contrasted to the United States, which helps give an idea of relative significance.

The Most Powerful Nations

We recommend exploring the interactive piece to get the most out of the data – but here are some meaningful spoilers to start with:

Overall Power
Taking all 114 metrics into consideration puts the U.S. into the #1 spot with a score of 85.0. Right behind are China (75.5), Japan (42.1), India (41.5), Russia (33.3), and then Australia (32.5). The U.S. leads in five categories, but falls behind China in three: Future Trends, Diplomatic Influence, and Economic Relationships.

Economic Resources
In this category, the U.S. and China are neck-and-neck with scores of 91.7 and 91.3 respectively. The next closest Asian powers are well-behind: Japan (32.9), India (26.8), Russia (17.0) and South Korea (17.0).

Military Capability
As expected, the U.S. ranks #1 with 94.6. On the Asian side, we have China (69.9), Russia (61.4), India (48.9), and North Korea (35.8).

Future Trends
This category takes into account future projections on economic growth, military expenditures, and working age population size. Not surprisingly, China ranks #1 here at 83.0. Behind it is the United States (60.0), and India (55.6). Other Asian powers are a ways further down the list, with Indonesia (11.7) and Russia (11.4) being the only other countries with double-digit scores.

For more, we recommend checking out the full-width interactive version provided by the Lowy Institute here.

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Which Countries Have the Most Economic Influence in Southeast Asia?

One country dominates this survey of who has the most economic influence in the region.

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A cropped bar chart depicting the countries/ regions identified by respondents as having the greatest economic influence in Southeast Asia.

Countries With the Most Economic Influence in Southeast Asia

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

This chart visualizes the results of a 2024 survey conducted by the ASEAN Studies Centre at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

Nearly 2,000 respondents from 10 countries were asked to select which country/region they believe has the most influential economic power in Southeast Asia.

The countries surveyed are all member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a political and economic union of 10 countries in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia Perceptions: Who’s Got Economic Influence?

Across all ASEAN nations, China is regarded as the region’s most influential economic power.

Laos and Thailand had the highest share of respondents picking China, at 78% and 71% respectively. As the report points out, China is Laos’ largest foreign investor as well as its top export market.

Country🇨🇳 China🌏 ASEAN🇺🇸 U.S.
🇧🇳 Brunei64%18%8%
🇰🇭 Cambodia60%11%20%
🇮🇩 Indonesia54%28%8%
🇱🇦 Laos78%8%8%
🇲🇾 Malaysia67%17%9%
🇲🇲 Myanmar60%7%20%
🇵🇭 Philippines31%26%28%
🇸🇬 Singapore60%15%21%
🇹🇭 Thailand71%9%11%
🇻🇳 Vietnam53%29%11%

Note: Percentages are rounded.

Other ASEAN countries usually score highly as well, along with the United States.

It’s only in the Philippines, where China (31%), the U.S. (28%) and ASEAN (26%) were perceived as having a similar amount of influence.

ASEAN, Japan, and the EU

Filipinos also rated Japan’s economic influence the highest (9%) compared to those surveyed in other ASEAN countries. In 2023, the Southeast Asian bloc celebrated 50 years of friendship with Japan, marking it as one of their most important “dialogue partners.”

Country🇯🇵 Japan🇪🇺 EU🌐 Other
🇧🇳 Brunei3%1%7%
🇰🇭 Cambodia1%5%3%
🇮🇩 Indonesia5%1%3%
🇱🇦 Laos1%4%1%
🇲🇾 Malaysia4%0%2%
🇲🇲 Myanmar6%6%2%
🇵🇭 Philippines9%4%3%
🇸🇬 Singapore3%0%2%
🇹🇭 Thailand3%4%4%
🇻🇳 Vietnam3%3%2%

Note: Percentages are rounded. Other countries include: Australia, South Korea, India, and the UK.

The EU also received single-percentage responses, its highest share coming from Myanmar (6%), Cambodia (5%), and Laos (4%).

Finally, the report contrasted China’s robust economic influence with concerns about its growing impact in the region. Respondents from Vietnam (88%), Myanmar (88%), and Thailand (80%) had the highest levels of concern, despite their countries’ strong trade ties with China.

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