Pan Asia-Pacific shares skidded more than 2 percent while Japan's Nikkei tumbled as much as 4 percent to a six-month low.
The dive also continues the ASX's worst month in more than three years, the market is down more than eight per cent for October - and 10 per cent since August - edging ever closer to an 18-month low of February 2016 in its fifth straight session of losses. Boeing shares shot up more than 4.5 percent in the premarket. Treasurys also got a bid on Wednesday with the yield on the 10-year moving back to 3.11% and the 5-year falling back below 3% after yields earlier this month hit a seven-year high.
"Concerns that earnings growth may be peaking against an unsettled global backdrop and that fiscal stimulus will wane continued to weigh on sentiment", said analysts at ANZ in a note. Weak euro zone economic data this week have added to angst over world growth, as has a surprise slump in US home sales, which suggested rising mortgage rates were sapping demand for housing.
The two countries are locked in a dispute over US allegations that China steals USA technology and forces USA companies to share trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
The growing worldwide pressure on Saudi Arabia over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi also weighed on investor sentiment.
On Wall Street, disappointing forecasts from chipmakers hammered the tech sector.
In dollar terms, the Nasdaq vaporized $524 billion in market capitalization overnight.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 1.1 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 5665.2 points on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 0.1 point.
It's been a painful start for what has historically been the kindest quarter for the city's stocks. The U. K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1%, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3%, and the German DAX Index slid by 0.7%.
"Could Asian markets really withstand four rate hikes in next year?"
In foreign exchange markets, client participation on both spot and options was fairly light, Citi noted in a separate note.
That year, talks between China and the United Kingdom about the city's future sparked panic across financial markets, triggering a sharp depreciation of the Hong Kong dollar. It was last up 0.1 percent at $1.1407. It was last a shade higher at $1.2892. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower as traders sought safe-haven investments. Even the high-flying dollar eased to 112 yen JPY=.
"This is more about global GDP because 3M is cutting its FY forecast so that is a worry for USA investors anxious about slowing growth: 'Is the world slowing down and will our companies feel the pain?,'" said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
Brent crude LCOc1 fell 69 cents to $75.48 a barrel, while USA crude dropped 54 cents to $66.28 CLc1. Gold was a tad weaker at US$1,236.76 an ounce.