East Asia's newly industrializing economies are the paragon of successful industrialization. This article investigates what lies behind this success by identifying seven ‘stylized facts’, which concern the contributions to industrialization and growth of structural change and technological change; and the role played by investment, savings and exports. Based on these stylized facts, the authors offer a new formulation of East Asian growth in terms of a cumulative-causation growth model. They discuss the impact on industrial diversification and upgrading of industrial and trade policies (including import substitution), and labour-market policies in the context of East Asia's authoritarian political regimes. Important specific factors are highlighted and the particular kinds of policies and institutions used in East Asia to finance accumulation are reviewed, before briefly considering the transferability of the East Asian growth regime.