Asia is the world’s largest continent, covering about 30% of the Earth’s land surface. With a population of approximately 4.4 billion, Asia comprises of 48 countries, six independent states and other territories. It is a multilingual and multicultural continent, with different ethnic groups throughout Asia. The continent is divided into smaller sub-regions according to geographical and cultural features, such as East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, North Asia and West Asia (also referred to as the Middle East). East Asia consists of China, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea, while South Asia is made up of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. Singapore, one of Asia’s biggest financial hubs, is in Southeast Asia.
With the tremendous growth in the Asian economy, primarily driven by China, India and Japan, the focus has shifted from the West to these emerging economies. The dynamic and sophisticated financial services sector has proven to be the major attraction for asset managers, investment bankers and other financial professionals from the West. After the economic downturn, Asia has also emerged as a potentially lucrative investment destination for foreign companies, offering a hospitable, business-friendly environment. The finance sector in Asia is quite diverse, including public and private banking, insurance, stock exchange, asset management, hedge funds, bonds and equity.