The Asian Association for Lexicography (Asialex) was established at the initiative of Gregory James and Amy Chi on 29 March 1997, during the Dictionaries in Asia conference at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, with the aim of fostering scholarly and professional activities in the field of lexicography and facilitating the exchange of information and ideas through meetings, publications, etc. Membership is open to any person or institution.

The first executive board was elected at that inauguration meeting, and the President, HUANG Jianhua, convened the first conference in Guangzhou (1999). From then on, elections were not held again, and usually the convener of each conference was named president for two years, until the voting process was renewed in Kyoto 2011.

Asialex is governed by an executive committee that is elected for two-year terms, consisting of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and three more members as well as four ex-officio members including the immediate past president, journal editor, and conveners of next two conferences.

Lexicography – Journal of Asialex is published biannually since 2014 by Springer, in print and online, and membership is connected to the journal subscription. Until then, the activity of Asialex focused almost entirely on holding biennial international conferences. In addition to conference proceedings, a newsletter appeared in the first years and collections of papers from two conferences were published as well. Since 2015, conferences started to be held once a year, with the tenth taking place in Manila 2016, and the next one due in Guangzhou in 2017.

The challenges facing Asialex and achieving its goals are inherent in Asia’s non-homogeneity on multiple levels. This vast geographical region is composed of different areas often disconnected from each other, and its enormous linguistic diversity is often under-resourced, under-researched or under-represented. Traditionally Asialex has had stronger presence of the eastern parts and much less of central, south and western Asia. Overcoming the challenges would uncover and leverage their resourcefulness.