Bagansiapiapi is a city in Riau province on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. The city is the capital of Rokan Hilir Regency in the Riau Province and is located on the east coast of Sumatra, on the Rokan River delta across the strait west of Malacca and near Dumai.
The town was originally populated mainly by Chinese immigrants:pp xii who arrived at the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century. Initially eighteen Chinese nationals sailed to Bagansiapiapi around 200 years ago and settled on the delta. All were from the family named Hung (Hokkien) (Hong / Ang. in other dialects). More followed, searching for a new life and seeking to avoid the economic hardships prevalent in Hokkien (China) at that time.
Every year, the Chinese community celebrates the anniversary of Bagansiapiapi, on the 16th day, of the 5th month of the Lunar year, believing that the initial immigrant group landed at Bagansiapiapi on that day.
In the 1980s Bagansiapiapi was one of the largest fish producing towns in Indonesia, and the second highest producer of fish in the World, after Norway. The fishing industry started with the first wave of Chinese immigrants, attracted to the area by the availability of abundant fishing. The town's heyday came under the jurisdiction of the Dutch East Indies, around 1930, when the fisheries produced 300,000 tons of fish per year. The annual production has fallen since, being particularly affected by a collapse of fish numbers since the 1970s, by which time over 800 trawlers based in the town were fishing the Shunda Shelf:pp 41. The trawling ban in Indonesian waters, introduced in 1980, has had a significant effect on the economy of the town:pp 38.
Transportation has been an area of concern for the government, as there is currently no airport. Bagansiapiapi is reached by road, being some 6 hours from Pekanbaru, capital of Riau, and 2.5 hours from Dumai. From North Sumatra and Medan the travel time by road is about 11 hours. The local government has an ongoing policy of improving the town infrastructure, including the widening of roads and improving street lighting. In June 2008, a new ferry line opened from Port Dickson, Malaysia, with a travel time of three hours.