The first BMW Asian Open was held at the Ta Shee Golf & Country Club in Taiwan. As the tournament actually belonged to the 2002 season, however, it is officially known as the BMW Asian Open 2002. The inaugural winner was Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin, who finished one shot ahead of Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) and José Maria Olazábal (Spain). One year later, Ireland's Padraig Harrington won the 2003 BMW Asian Open at the same venue.
In 2004 the BMW Asian Open moved house: from 13th to 16th May the tournament was held at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in China for the first time. Miguel Ángel Jiménez emerged triumphant. In doing so, the Spaniard laid the foundation for his unique "hat-trick": titles at three different BMW Tournaments – a feat that is yet to be repeated. Jiménez also won the BMW International Open in Munich in 2004, before "The Mechanic" triumphed at the 2008 BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth.
The 2005 BMW Asian Open was dominated by the extraordinary craftsmanship of Ernie Els. "The Big Easy" claimed the title ahead of Simon Wakefield with a record score of 26 under par. The South African's breathtaking superiority at this tournament was underlined by his winning margin of 13 shots over the second-placed Brit.
2006 was a much closer affair and boiled down to a play-off between Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño of Spain. The young Spaniard came out on top. This victory was largely responsible for him being named the "Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year" in that year. Stenson made amends just months later, winning the 2006 BMW International Open – in a play-off.
Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin led from start to finish at the 2007 BMW Asian Open. Jacquelin withstood the challenge of Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen to win with a score of 10 under par.
The 2008 BMW Asian Open witnessed an emotional final day: Darren Clarke had gone five years without a win on the European Tour, and it took a spectacular putt from twelve metres on the final green to end his winless streak. The Northern Irishman beat Holland's Robert-Jan Djerksen, and has since gone on to become a Major winner.