Samoa safer option to invest
The Vaitele area is rapidly growing in terms of new businesses and attracting a lot of foreign investment in the industrial zone.
One of those businesses in Vaitele is Summer Wholesale Company owned by Chinese man Michael Xue.
Mr. Xue moved to Samoa five years ago from Tonga with his family because he believes it’s safer to invest here.
He moved all his businesses from Tonga except for one retail shop left there.
But the influx of foreign investors mostly Asians - is making things competitive for the businessman.
Summer Wholesale is located opposite the Island Boys workshop at Vaitele.
“I started my business here in 2011 on the other side of Vaitele,” Mr. Xue told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“We deliver goods just like other wholesales to Savai’i and rural villages. It was good business when we started but now there are many new businesses that we have to share the market. All of this cost more than a million to setup.”
So why did the businessman leave Tonga in the first place?
Mr. Xue said he did not feel safe in Tonga.
“The people in Tonga are not friendly like Samoans,” he said.
“Most of the Asian businesses in Tonga get robbed, beaten up and it was very unsafe at night. That was the reason why we looked to Samoa and we were happy to come here and see that they are very friendly and accepting of us.”
In Tonga most of the Chinese shops in the villages put up metal fences in front of the shop’s window.
Mr. Xue said the Chinese felt threatened.
The businessman moved to Tonga more than twenty years ago when he was 18 years old to help his aunty.
“I only went to Tonga when I was 18 years old to help my aunty with her business,” he recalled.
“When I got there she asked me to stay with her to help with her business.
"I did and four years later I started up my own retail business and that is how I ended up in Tonga.”
Although he left in his teenage years, Mr. Xue who is now 44 years old said he still keeps contact with family in China.
The businessman said he has made the islands his home and when he does go back to China “we are treated like foreigners”.
Asked to explain, Mr. Xue said most Chinese who leave the country for more than 20 years return to their home country but do not feel at home.
“But over here I am married (to a Chinese) have children and a beautiful business,” he said.
“Everything is okay here and I want to stay here longer with my family.”
The businessman is a permanent resident and has bought the land where his business is to ensure Samoa will become his home.