For instance, Taiwan is offering its 20 million citizens coupons worth 3,600 Taiwan dollars (Bt3,714) for use within six months.
China has also reportedly prepared a similar stimulus for some 100 million of its farmers, offering them the equivalent of Bt3,000 to Bt4,000 each for the purchase of electrical and electronic products such as TVs, refrigerators and computers.
Thailand's Bt19-billion cash-handout measure, part of the Bt117-billion economic stimulus programme, is similar. The first batch of these Bt2,000 gift cheques is due to reach the pockets of 9 million low-income earners on March 26.
Several retail chains and businesses in Thailand have expressed a keen interest in joining the government's handout programme and are offering steep discounts to consumers using the gift cheques to buy their products.
For example, Acer, a leading computer brand in the Thai market with a 40 per cent share, plans to boost the value of the gift cheques from Bt2,000 to Bt3,000 when they are used to buy certain models of its computers.
In Taiwan, it was reported that a big chunk of the NT$3,600 coupons had been used immediately.
Restaurants and other eateries, and electronic and other consumer goods are among the top gainers, as are mass-media outlets, since businesses have been advertising their sales campaigns extensively to capitalise on the stimulus programme. It was also reported that business and consumer sentiments had risen significantly in the wake of Taiwan's stimulus package.
In fact, Taiwan and several other export-dependent economies in Asia are expected to face a bigger GDP contraction than Thailand this year, with Taiwan's and Singapore's GDP likely to shrink by 8 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively.
With regards to Thailand, the National Economic and Social Development Board's latest projection is a 1-per-cent contraction or zero growth. GDP contraction is particularly severe in export-oriented economies due to the collapse in global demand, especially in the US and Western Europe.
For example, the demand for autos, flat-screen TVs and other electronic and electrical products has slumped sharply as US consumers struggle to survive their worst economic recession since the 1930s.
Overall, the global demand for goods and services has dropped dramatically, by 30 to 40 per cent, in the wake of the US-led financial crisis, which broke out last year.
As a result, export-oriented economies such as Thailand, Taiwan and China have no choice but to turn to their domestic market to boost consumption and help offset the drop in export earnings.
In the case of Thailand, exports account for more than 60 per cent of the country's GDP, while domestic consumption is significantly smaller. However, the government's handout programme is going to be effective only when the money is used by the receivers quickly.
Economists believe that the target group for these gift cheques, those earning less than Bt15,000, will be more inclined to spend the money rather than save it. Another factor is the private sector's participation by organising sales and promotional campaigns to take advantage of the government's measure.
After all, the programme's benefits will be rather short-lived. Therefore, a second round of longer-lasting stimulus would be needed.