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With the island’s proximity to Singapore, Batam is the labour-intensive production leg of the Singapore–Johor Baru–Batam industrial triangle. Many electronics companies have established production plants in the industrial park of Mukakuning. Factory workers are predominantly young women from impoverished areas of Indonesia.
Higher up the economic food chain are the executives who oversee the factories and the engineers who work on the offshore oil rigs and pipelines. More recent investment is flowing in from China with the establishment of steel manufacturing plants and shipbuilding.
Other initiatives across recent years have included developing golf resorts and casinos targetting Asian tourists, and gated retirement communities for East Asians, Singaporeans and Jakarta-based Chinese.