This paper aims to compare the trajectories of selected newly industrialising countries in terms of structural change. Using an exploratory method of data analysis, the comparative closeness of the economies is studied over time. The results show that industrialisation is a necessary, albeit insufficient, ingredient for catch-up. The successful growth performances of Asian countries are associated with a successful industrialisation process accompanied by high export and investment shares. Latin American country performances are less successful, despite initially high industrial shares. Comparing trajcetories with southern European experiences reveals cases of premature deindustrialisation and tertiarisation processes.