The republic of Samoa, a tiny nation in the South Pacific, will leap into the future at the stroke of midnight Thursday.

Samoa will skip Friday, Dec 30, jumping forward to Dec 31, New Year's eve.

The nation is changing its time zone to catch up with Australia, New Zealand and Asian countries. After the time zone is moved forward 24 hours, Samoa's time will be 13 hours ahead of GMT, one hour ahead of New Zealand and three hours ahead of Australia.

The change is due to economic reasons. The island nation has strong trade ties with Australia, New Zealand, China and other Asia Pacific nations and needs to be closer in time to them.

Two years ago, Samoa changed driving to the left side of the road, like in New Zealand and Australia.

The current date change reverses the 1892 decision, when the nation jumped back one day for convenience of maritime trade with the US.