In recent years a new middle class has emerged in East and Southeast Asia. They are a society whose wealth is no longer displayed by the classical symbols of Asian affluence but by Western icons of modernity; a meal at McDonalds or the ubiquitous mobile phone. This book is the essential introduction to a series which is the first to examine the new rich phenomenon in East and Southeast Asia. The contributors are acknowledged experts on the social and political systems they analyze. Each study is based upon detailed field research and combines both theoretical and empirical material on countries such as China, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. The insights they provide into not only the differences but also the similarities between the societies are an invaluable key to understanding the concept of class in Asia, and the transformation taking place in Asian society.