17 Jun 2005

Marshall Islanders say Chinese are taking over small businesses

10:24 am on 17 June 2005

Marshall Islanders are voicing their concern to the government about the high number of small businesses owned by Chinese people.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson says retail outlets run by Chinese nationals and Taiwanese have sprouted up over a short period of time.

He says the blame is on the government's move during the mid nineties to sell thousands of passports to foreigners.

Giff Johnson says the government can only enforce the local law on business, as many are now effectively owned by Chinese who are now Marshallese citizens.

"Five or 6 years ago, I would say about 90 percent of the small businesses like the small takeout store, corner mom and pop stores, taxi companies, auto rentals were run by locals. But I would say conservatively now, that number is now 70 percent Chinese."