Abstract The rapid economic growth in newly industrializing countries (NICs) over the past decade has been impressive. However, the ability of these countries to sustain high growth in the future has come under question repeatedly. A number of measures are used in this paper to assess the state of technology in the ASEAN and to draw comparisons with a select group of developed countries. Productivity trends in ASEAN and other countries are examined first due to the intimate relationship between technology and productivity. While popular measures of technological capability, such as the number of R&D personnel and expenditures, are used, the focus is on trade in manufactured goods classified by R&D intensity. In the case of the ASEAN, the evidence suggests that they are net importers of technology and have yet to develop strong domestic R&D capabilities. ASEAN countries have considerable ground to cover before they can rival the technological capabilities of developed countries. Policy prescriptions for enhancing the technological capabilities of ASEAN countries are presented at the conclusion.