26 Feb 2015

Samoans feel edged out of retail sector

3:16 pm on 26 February 2015

An academic says community views on the presence of Chinese in Samoa show concern about the country's retail sector.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Mary Baines

Eight col fugalei 2

Dr Iati Iati from the University of Otago is a speaker at this week's China in the Pacific conference at the National University of Samoa in Apia.

He has just concluded a survey in Samoa of grassroots views on China's role in the country.

Chinese dominance in the ownership of supermarkets and general stores was a recurring theme in people's views.

"On the one hand they're quite pleased with the prices that are available to people, on the other hand they are concerned that this will lead to a lot of Samoan businesses going out of business. They just cannot compete, both in terms of price and in terms of the fact that a lot of Samoan businesses are caught up in certain cultural protocols which makes it a little bit expensive for them and offering their goods."

Dr Iati Iati says another imbalance is that local people don't have the access to capital and goods that the Chinese businesses have.