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The Top Import for Each Country: Asia



Top Imports in Asia

The Briefing

  • Petroleum is the most popular import across Asia
  • China imports the most petroleum in Asia—in 2018, it brought in over $207 billion worth
  • China is the world’s second largest importer (the U.S. comes in at number one)

The Top Imports in Asia

By 2040, Asia is projected to make up 40% of worldwide consumption. What types of goods and products are in high demand by the world’s (soon-to-be) largest consumer? One way to tackle this question is by looking at the top imports across Asia.

The map above does just that. For brevity, we’ve excluded regions with a top import value below $1 billion.

Top Imports in Asia, by Country

Just like the Americas, petroleum is the most popular import in Asia. In fact, it’s the top import in 19 of the 34 countries included on this list, including in China where over $200 billion worth of petroleum was imported in 2018:

CountryRegionTop ImportImport Value (2018, USD)
🇨🇳 ChinaEastern AsiaPetroleum$207.6 B
🇭🇰 China, Hong Kong SAREastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$155.9 B
🇮🇳 IndiaSouthern AsiaPetroleum$101.4 B
🇰🇷 South KoreaEastern AsiaPetroleum$74.8B
🇯🇵 JapanEastern AsiaPetroleum$72.3B
🇸🇬 SingaporeSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$48.0 B
🇲🇾 MalaysiaSouth-eastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$29.6 B
🇦🇪 United Arab EmiratesWestern AsiaGold$ 27.3 B
🇹🇭 ThailandSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$23.7 B
🇻🇳 VietnamSouth-eastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$23.0 B
🇵🇭 PhilippinesSouth-eastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$20.1 B
🇮🇩 IndonesiaSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$16.1 B
🇹🇷 TurkeyWestern AsiaPetroleum$12.4 B
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaWestern AsiaVehicles$8.9 B
🇮🇱 IsraelWestern AsiaPetroleum$7.2 B
🇵🇰 PakistanSouthern AsiaPetroleum$5.8 B
🇰🇭 CambodiaSouth-eastern AsiaGold$5.7 B
🇧🇭 BahrainWestern AsiaPetroleum$5.3 B
🇶🇦 QatarWestern AsiaAircrafts$4.5 B
🇧🇩 BangladeshSouthern AsiaPetroleum$4.1 B
🇮🇶 IraqWestern AsiaBroadcasting equipment$3.8 B
🇮🇷 IranSouthern AsiaVehicles$3.5 B
🇱🇧 LebanonWestern AsiaPetroleum$3.5 B
🇰🇼 KuwaitWestern AsiaVehicles$3.0 B
🇲🇲 MyanmarSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$2.8 B
🇱🇰 Sri LankaSouthern AsiaPetroleum$2.3 B
🇴🇲 OmanWestern AsiaVehicles$2.2 B
🇨🇾 CyprusWestern AsiaPetroleum$2.2 B
🇯🇴 JordanWestern AsiaVehicles$1.5 B
🇳🇵 NepalSouthern AsiaPetroleum$1.4 B
🇦🇿 AzerbaijanWestern AsiaGold$1.3 B
🇰🇿 KazakhstanCentral AsiaPetroleum$1.1 B
🇲🇳 MongoliaEastern AsiaPetroleum$1.0 B

Vehicles are the second most popular, ranking first in five countries. Saudi Arabia is the top importer of vehicles, with an import value of $8.9 billion in 2018.

In third place, electronic integrated circuits, which are small chips used in electronic devices, rank as the top import in four countries. Three of those are in South-eastern Asia, which makes sense considering the region is becoming Asia’s manufacturing hub.

Hong Kong is the top importer of integrated circuits—not just across Asia, but worldwide. Interestingly, integrated circuits are also Hong Kong’s top export. Because many of Hong Kong’s manufacturing facilities have been relocated to China, the region’s electronics industry focuses on R&D, product design, and logistics.

>> Interested in global trade? You should check out this article: The Top Import for Each Country: The Americas

Where does this data come from?

Source: BACI, UN Comtrade
Details: BACI is an international trade database, providing information on bilateral trade flows for more than 5000 products and 200 countries. It pulls data directly from the United Nations Statistical Division (UN Comtrade)
Notes: For more information on methodology, visit the CEPII website

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