SINGAPORE (Feb 1): Indonesia wants to re-position its Batam island as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore with a potential to draw US$60 billion ($80.8 billion) in new investment.

Batam and nearby islands -- located at less than 30 kilometers south of Singapore -- have attracted about US$20 billion dollars of investment and they were declared a free-trade zone in 2007. It’s home to thousands of local and foreign firms producing goods from computers to oil rigs.

Now authorities want to expand benefits to businesses by reclaiming about 8,000 hectares of idle or confiscated land to offer to exporters or producers of import substitutes.

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