Asia has been hit badly by the global financial crisis. But, as the G20 summit in London showed on Thursday, there has also been growing recognition of the important role of Asia in the world economy: Five Asian countries – China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea sent their leaders to London. Asian countries have been vocal about their concerns.
China's President Hu Jintao, front centre, surrounded by world leaders at the G-20 summit in London
The global financial crisis has not left Asian economies untouched. Japan is facing the worst slump in decades. Think tanks have already projected slow growth in the continent for at least this year. The downturn has shaken the confidence of investors too. And job losses have hit new heights.
Yet, many say economies such as China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea are relatively in a better position than many European countries.
Hence they can assert their influence in ongoing global discussions about new international financial system, which could help revive their growth too.
China has also shown its eagerness in helping tackle the crisis. Albert Guangzhou Hu, an economist from Singapore explains:
"China is concerned about what needs to be done that such a crisis doesn’t happen again."
Replacing the dollar
But China has its terms and conditions, too.
"China’s central bank governor Zhou recently mentioned that China is concerned about the dollar-centric global reserve system and would like to see a reform of that," says expert Albert Guangzhou Hu.
The Chinese central bank's governor, Zhou Xiaochuan has recently suggested that there should be a new global currency controlled by the International Monetary Fund to replace the US dollar as the international reserve currency. He said the recent global crisis showed the need for reform of the international financial order, which should aim to create a system which is not dependent on the policies of any individual country.
The other issue that developing countries are concerned about is protectionism. India has been quite vocal, too, and insists that the developed countries should keep their markets open. Pravin Jha, an economist from India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University explains:
"In America and also in other countries, there are considerations about protectionism. This will severely affect the boom that we have seen in the last 15 to 20 years in India's information and telecommunications sector."
The Asian nations have also been looking to multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund to enhance their investments into the region.
At the G20 summit in London, world leaders have agreed that the IMF and financial groups will get up to one trillion euros in extra funding, which will help struggling economies.