The study aims at finding an explanation to the economic development of Southeast Asia. To achieve this end, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have been chosen as the foci of the study.
To explain the region's recent success, the study is guided by the hypothesis that overseas Chinese entrepreneurship, exercised by a group belonging to a discriminated ethnic minority, is an indispensable component of the capitalist development of Southeast Asia.
Overseas Chinese businesses dominate nearly all branches of the economy of their respective countries of residence. On a regional scale, they are acknowledged to control two-thirds of the region's retail trade.
The hypothesis of the study is validated by the empirical findings. Furthermore, the study has arrived at the conclusion that Southeast Asia is host to a type of entrepreneurship - Overseas Chinese entrepreneurship - that evolved and developed throughout the centuries and proven for its resiliency and risk-taking abilities. It did not create the boom in the region, however. Liberal government policies, the inflow of huge foreign capital, and the availability of cheap and skilled labor among the indigenous population are among the more crucial factors that facilitated this transformation.