Brunei is a resource rich country in terms of petroleum and natural gas. Bordered by the South China Sea on Borneo's northwestern shore, Brunei shares a common border with the Malaysian state, Sarawak. The country has a population of about 374,000 (July 2007), comprised of Malay, Chinese and other indigenous people. Its culture is derived from the Old Malay located in the Malay Archipelago. Brunei's monarchy has ruled for over six centuries. The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Subsequent internal strife over royal succession and colonial expansion led Brunei into decline until it became a British protectorate in 1888. In 1984, Brunei claimed back independence and restored power to the Sultan. Brunei's official language is Bahasa Melayu or Standard Malay which is used in all areas of public life including the government, the printed media, and broadcasting. English is also spoken in various domains of the public and private life.
Brunei shares a common culture and history with the Malay based on its geographical location. It also employs the Malay writing system. This system is rooted in the Arabic and South Asian alphabets which date back at least five centuries. It was widely used until the recent times when the use of the Latin based alphabet became the norm in writing many of the native languages. During the years of foreign control, the British heavily influenced all publishing in Brunei. Towards the end of that period a number of publications in native languages began. When Brunei finally became an independent country in 1984, the people were able to continue to expand their printing capacity. The number of publications produced in Brunei has grown steadily since that time. Most of what is published in the country is in Malay, with fewer publications in other languages like Chinese and English. Along with printed formats, electronic information is also available. The people of Brunei have embraced this technology in areas where they have access to it. Bruneians are establishing an increasing presence on the Web.