Suidani highlights concern on Chinese control of retail sector


Malaita’s premier has raised concern on the dominance and control of Chinese businesses in the retail sector of the country.

Daniel Suidani said this was what his government had forewarned as they made their stand against Solomon Islands’ switch to mainland China from Taiwan in 2019.

“As you know MARA government came into office during one of the most turbulence times in the history of Solomon Islands or the world at large.

“The MARA government as you know is at odds with the DCGA national government on the issue of the switch of diplomatic relations from ROC to PRC.

“Much debate has been going on domestically and internationally on this matter and at times painting a picture that Malaita province under my leadership and the MARA government failed to see the benefits that such relationship would bring,” he said.

Suidani said what the critics of this assumption have not seen is that there has already been a long sister relationship between the Guangdong province of China with Guadalcanal province way back in the mid-80s.

He said the relationship among others had brought about many Chinese nationals that had engaged in the wholesaling and retailing business mainly along the Kukum corridor.

“A survey conducted among our Chinese community last year here in Auki have found that close to 95 percent of the Chinese operating shops in Auki are from the Guangdong province of China.

“What we are seeing is that the Guangdong Guadalcanal relationship is one that highly favours the Chinese province than the Solomon Islands province.

“For instance, the GG venture ship was a fruit of the sister relationship. That has since long gone but the Chinese retailing and wholesaling is growing ever larger.

“And Malaita province is feeling the effects of this provincial relationship.

“What we need to be aware of is that while there has been a lot of talk on paper on this sister relationship, the real question would be, who is the real beneficiary in this sister relationship arrangement?

“Or is it just another those overly rated media stunts as often be the case with Chinese media propaganda. It is for a fact that there was once a location called China town in Honiara.

“Today China town is the whole of Honiara. This was even before the switch, how much more it will be after the switch,” Suidani said.

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