Page 19 - Malaysia Food Business Directory 2020/2021
P. 19

  Japan, too, is venturing into the halal world. In fact, the country is the fourth largest importer of Malaysian halal products after China, Singapore and the US. In 2019, Japanese restaurant operator Zensho Holdings Co Ltd bought Malaysian halal chain The Chicken Rice Shop.
Moreover, the HDC is assisting Japan to be more Muslim-friendly by certifying 1,000 premises in Japan as halal. This is in addition to 500 premises that are already certified. The HDC also plans to provide expert help to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China to meet their demand for talent with knowledge and experience in the halal industry by sending up to 700 Malaysian professionals to these countries.
The Tokyo Olympics is embracing halal as well. Initially scheduled for August 2020 but now postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a deal has been made for Malaysia to supply halal meals to athletes, making us the only country to have reached such an agreement with the games organizers. Once the event is back on schedule, other Malaysian businesses will also be on site to exhibit their halal products. The event is viewed as an immense opportunity for Malaysia to grab the attention of the global halal market.
The massive Belt and Road Initiative may have been conceived by China, but it is really a collaborative multi-country enterprise. With about 10 Muslim-majority countries along the route, it makes economic sense to explore them as potential halal markets. In that spirit of collaboration, Malaysia is hitching a ride to see how it can expand its halal business into these 10 countries that include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Halal Industry Master Plan 2030 was put together by the government to nurture the growth and participation of local businesses in the global halal market. HDC CEO Hairol Ariffein Sahari said, “It will be the main document reference that facilitates halal development and ecosystem in Malaysia. It provides Malaysia with an affirmed position to continue providing worldwide leadership.” It is his hope that this master plan will make Malaysia one of the most competitive countries in the halal industry and encourage other nations to develop their own halal ecosystem.
Although the lockdown has thrown a spanner in the works, HDC advises halal SMEs to stay resilient and focus on marketing their products post-COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, there was a large supply gap for halal products – about 80% according to HDC figures. With economies opening up now, there will be plenty of prospects for SMEs to increase their production to meet demand.
The opportunities are endless for the international growth of our local halal industry. In a post-COVID-19 world, where product cleanliness and safety – the hallmark of halal – have become of paramount importance, the industry is in a position to skyrocket. With the government’s commitment and the country’s vast experience in the halal sector, Malaysia can be a competitive halal production, promotion and distribution hub of the world.

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