Batam is an island, municipality (an Indonesian kotamadya), and the largest city (on the island) in Riau Islands Province withinIndonesia. Batam is a free trade zone, part of the Indonesia–Malaysia–Singapore Growth Triangle, located 20 km (12 mi) offSingapore’s south coast. The 715 km² (276 miles²) island, almost identical in size to Singapore, is the core part of the municipality. The municipality (1,010.88 km²) has a population of 1,153,860 (Civil Registry Survey April 2012). As per the 2010 Census it was the fastest growing municipality in the nation, with a growth rate of 11% per year. Though the municipality covers adjacent islands, nearly all the people reside on Batam island.
Batam has a tropical climate with average temperatures between 26-32°C. Humidity in the region ranges from 73% to 96%. The region has a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to October. Average annual rainfall is around 2,600 mm.
The local governmental offices are in Batam Centre. The largest community on the island is Lubuk Baja (formerly known as Nagoya). Other residential areas include Baloi Garden, Sekupang, Nongsapura (Nongsa), Waterfront City (Teluk Senimba), Batu Ampar and Jodoh.
Batam City (Kotamadya Batam) is divided into 12 districts (kecamatan) – which include several adjacent islands such as Bulan, Rempang and Galang as well as Batam Island itself.The districts are tabulated below with their 2010 Census population:
Beginning in the 1970s, the island underwent a significant transformation from a largely forested area into a major harbor and industrial zone. Shipbuilding and electronics manufacturing are important industries on the island. Being close to the ports of Singapore increases the speed for goods shipping and product distribution which benefits the island’s economy. With lower labour costs and special government incentives, it is the site of many factories operated by foreign companies.
Under a framework signed in June 2006, Batam, along with parts of neighboring Bintan and Karimun, are a part of a Special Economic Zone with Singapore; this zone eliminates tariffs and value-added taxes for goods shipped between Batam and Singapore.
In 2010, approximately 58 percent of foreign tourists came from Singapore, and 13 percent from Malaysia. Batam has a reputation as a destination for prostitution and gambling.
The island is the location of International University of Batam.
The population of Batam consists of a mixture of races, religions and languages. With a population of more than 1 million, Islam is the majority religion at 70%, followed by Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and others.
As in other regions of Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia is the primary language, with several other languages and dialects such as Malay and Chinese (mainly Hokkien and Teochew) as well as Mandarin and English due to the close proximity of Singapore and Malaysia.