27 Nov 2006

Chinese merchants in Solomon Islands could give back more to locals, says Commerce Chamber

7:36 pm on 27 November 2006

The chairman of Solomon Islands' Chamber of Commerce says the operations of Chinese merchants in the country could benefit from giving more back to the indigenous people.

Peter Goodwin made the comment while talking about the rebuilding of Honiara's Chinatown after it was destroyed in the April riots.

Mr Goodwin says the historical importance of the role of Chinese merchants in the region needs to be acknowledged.

However he says the emergence of indigenous peoples in their own market places also needs to be recognised

He suggests that some Chinese merchants need to modify their behaviour to allow the indigenous peoples to play a broader role.

"They build flimsy, often ugly buildings simply to house their operations and whatever profit they make goes offshore. And I think those merchants should take a lesson from the longer, entrenched merchants and start ploughing some investment funds back into the economies from which they derive their profits."

The chairman of Solomon Islands' Chamber of Commerce Peter Goodwin