Asia has been attracting international productions for decades, but in recent years it has become a prime destination for footloose international producers in search of the cheapest and most exotic locations.

In addition to low-cost labour, equipment and transport, the region offers stunning landscapes and architecture - but there are many complicating factors for international producers to consider.

Asia offers few financial incentives - although Taiwan is attempting to introduce a tax-break system - and the region has pockets of political instability, not to mention its fair share of natural disasters and pollution. These are factors that can scare off insurers, although for every hotspot there are a thousand locations that are safe to shoot.

There are many Asian nations that now have a solid film-making infrastructure, as booming local production industries have resulted in experienced technicians and high-tech facilities. Of course, some territories are more popular than others. Although it still presents challenges, China is attracting a growing number of productions from the US and Europe, due to its low costs, varied scenery and the fact filming in the country has been linked to market access. Thailand also remains interesting, despite recent violence and political upheaval, and has the advantage of English-speaking crews.

Further north, South Korea and Japan boast dramatic scenery, cities and historic monuments, but are expensive compared with other parts of the region and their facilities are often kept busy with local films. Japan, which is as expensive as the US, has attracted few foreign shoots and those that do land in the country - such as The Last Samurai and The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift - tend to stay only for a few weeks. Korea has attracted some European films but has yet to host a US production, although Wonsuk Chin's long-gestating thriller Expats has committed to shooting in Busan.

Yet these two countries have potential and since the turn of the millennium a plethora of film commissions have sprung up in both to provide assistance. This mirrors development in other parts of the region and Asia now boasts a regional organisation, the Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet), which was established in 2004, and two locations trade shows - Bifcom in South Korea, which takes place during Busan's Asian Film Market, and Locations World, which is being held for the first time this year as part of Hong Kong Filmart (March 20-23).

Use the links to the right to navigate the most popular territories for international productions - and a few countries that are making a big push to attract overseas shoots.