Karimun is one of the islands in the Riau Islands province of Indonesia. It is west of Singapore and Batam. The island's main city is Tanjung Balai Karimun. As of 1997, the island had a population of 155,000.
In the past, Karimun was the destination of foreign traders and the Malay Kings. The island has strategic geographical importance, as it is near the Straits of Malacca, an international shipping route. Stamford Raffles is believed to have considered Karimun island instead of Singapore island when looking for a settlement. Due to large scale indiscriminate fishing activity near the island recently, fish stocks have been depleted, and thus the fishing businesses have declined considerably.
Tanjung Balai port in Karimun island
Mount. Jantan is located in Karimun. Famous beaches : Pelawan and Pongkar. other :Waterfall Pongkar (Air Terjun Pongkar)
FTZ - Free Trade Zone
On 29 June 2007 the Indonesian government conferred enclave Free Trade Zone status on Karimun; a move intended to address the issue of legal certainty for investors. The Law however is still being discussed by parliament and is expected to be passed in early 2008.
Under the plan Karimun will be turned into shipyard, metal, component, agricultural, and marine produce industrial development centres.
This is in line with the establishment of the Special Economics Zone in Riau Island Province for Batam, Bintan and Karimun (BBK).
The main export of the island is its granite which is one of the best quality in the world. Sand has also been constantly exported to Singapore for land reclamation. Indonesian concern at Singapore reclamation projects has however limited sand exports.
At the beginning of 2007, Indonesia banned the export of sand. Singapore being their biggest importer now faces a crisis with many upcoming building developments.