Batam is an island and also a city in Riau Islands Province of Indonesia, known for its free trade zone area as part of the Sijori Growth Triangle, is located 20 km (12.5 miles) off Singapore's south coast. The 415 km² (160 miles²) island has a population of 713,960 in December 2006, most of whom are Malays (85%) and Chinese (14%). A few indigenous Orang Laut tribes also live on the island.
In the 1970s, the island underwent a major transformation from a largely forested area into a major harbor and industrial zone. The population drastically grew from a few thousand in the 1960s into hundreds of thousands. Located close to Singapore and endowed with a much cheaper labour force, several Singaporean companies have established factories in Batam.
The official language on the island is Indonesian, but due to the sizeable Chinese population, Chinese dialects like Teochew and Mandarin are somewhat widely spoken. Apart from industrial zones, the islands have several resorts and tourist destinations.(wikipedia)