Comparative social policy has long neglected welfare development in Asia. Not much is known about social welfare in the economically successful East Asian tigers (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan). They are late starters in social welfare but each has its own trajectory of welfare development. Despite the presence of extensive social welfare, they have shied away from western-style welfare states. The presence of strong developmental states and their development ethos explain in large part the underdevelopment of state welfare.