Full text: The electrical equipment market of the Netherland East Indies

By Donald W. Smith, Assistant Trade Commissioner 
The area known as the Netherland East Indies comprises a number 
of islands stretching between southeast Asia and Australia and has a 
total land surface of 733,681 square miles. The islands are divided 
into two groups for political and administrative reasons: Java and 
Madura, which are the most important commercially, and the islands 
of the “Outer Possessions,” which include Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, 
and New Guinea, besides hundreds of smaller islands. Java and 
Madura have an area of 50,815 square miles, which is about the size 
of the State of New York. Sumatra with surrounding islands has 
an area of 162,258 square miles, Netherland Borneo 213,589 square 
miles, Celebes and the small islands in the immediate neighborhood 
71,763 square miles, and Netherland New Guinea 153,321 square 
miles. Other islands, such as Ternati, Amboina, Timor, and Bali, 
complete the total. 
The islands of the Outer Possessions are far behind Java in agri- 
cultural and commercial development. Sumatra, however, has 
made rapid strides during the past decade and is often referred to as 
the “island of the future.” Netherland Borneo, New Guinea, and 
the Celebes, although rich in natural resources, have been opened up 
only along the coast. All of these islands except Java contain large 
tracts of virgin jungle, much of which has not yet been penetrated 
by the white man. 
The temperature averages between 83° and 87° F. throughout the 
year, while the relative humidity is unusually high, averaging be- 
tween 95 and 98 per cent. This warm, moist climate has an adverse 
effect on electrical equipment which is not properly insulated, the 
insulation being in danger of breaking down unless manufacturers 
construct their equipment with special windings and extra-heavy 
insulation. If this 1s not done, many complaints regarding the 
inability of their products to withstand the climatic conditions are 
likely to be received. 
The climate also handicaps radio broadcasting, the island of 
Banka, which lies between Java and Suamtra being one of the worst 
spots in the world for radio reception. 
With the exception of possible interruptions from the frequent 
electrical storms in the mountains of east Java, the climate is favorable 
for transmission-line work. 

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