A worldwide increase in the prevalence of asthma has been reported in recent years. With an increase in prevalence comes an increased burden of disease in terms of morbidity, mortality and compromised quality of life. The economic burden in terms of utilisation of healthcare resources and limitation of the earning capacity of the individuals and families is an added problem. Various indicators such as disability-adjusted life years and healthy life years have been used to define the economic burden. The data from Asian countries regarding these parameters is scarce, underlining the need for systematic studies in these countries, especially those that are resource poor. The purpose of this review is to highlight the varying prevalence of asthma in Asia and to assess the likely economic burden for the future.