Numerous Chinese have worked and lived in Papua New Guinea, establishing Chinese-majority communities. Chinese merchants became established in the islands before European exploration. Anti-Chinese rioting involving tens of thousands of people broke out in May 2009. The initial spark was a fight between ethnic Chinese and indigenous workers at a nickel factory under construction by a Chinese company. Native resentment against Chinese ownership of numerous small businesses and their commercial monopoly in the islands led to the rioting. The Chinese have long been merchants in Papua New Guinea. In the same year, Papua New Guinea asked various Southeast Asian nations for their support for Papua New Guinea's full membership bid in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indonesia supported the bid after Papua New Guinea supported Indonesia's hold on West Papua. However, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia have expressed displeasure over Papua New Guinea's anti-LGBT laws, stating that equality-friendly Timor-Leste would most likely be a more feasible ASEAN member state in the future.