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Asia, the largest of the earth’s seven continents, accounts for almost a third of the earth’s land and around 60% of the population. Lying almost entirely in the Northern Hemisphere, Asia covers an estimated 44,391,000 square kilometres, including outlying islands. In 2000 the population of Asia was estimated to be 3.73 billion.

Asia is traditionally divided into five major realms: East Asia, which includes China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan; Southeast Asia, which includes Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines; South Asia (Middle east), which includes India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, and Bhutan; Southwest Asia, which includes Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the other states of the Arabian Peninsula, and Russian Asia, which includes the states of Central Asia that were formerly part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). These states are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

International trade is extensive in some Asian countries, with Asia having 17 of the

world’s top 50 exporters. The most import exporting centres are Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, India, Iran, Turkey, Israel, the Philippines, and Oman.

Asia incorporates many different combinations of climate and vegetation. Across the Middle East, Central Asia, parts of Russian Asia, and the inner regions of China, subsistence livestock production is prevalent. Around coastal China, and most of South and Southeast Asia, subsistence crop production is the major form of agricultural activity. At different places throughout the region, and especially in Japan, Southeast Asia, the western parts of Russia, and some areas of the Middle East, commercial crop production takes place.

The continent of Asia is rich in mineral resources and energy resources. Petroleum and natural gas resources are found throughout most of Asia, with the greatest concentration occurring in the Persian Gulf, Indonesia, China, and the western Siberian Plain and on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Large offshore reserves exist off the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, western India and China.

The continent of Asia has a diverse population. Southeast Asia is densely populated, while the northern and interior regions, as well as parts of southwest Asia, has a low population density. The majority of the population in most Asian countries lives in rural communities, although urbanisation has proceeded rapidly in the last few decades. Countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are largely urbanised, while the Philippines and Malaysia also have large urban populations.

For More Info See Asia Travel Guide

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