Malaysia aims to keep on top of the organised halal industry by injecting US$88m into a business development fund that it hopes will push more domestic businesses into the international market.
Jamil Bidin, chief executive of the country’s halal development centre said that this is one of many government initiatives taken to keep Malaysia as the world’s biggest exporter of halal products and services.
“The fund will provide entrepreneurs financial aid for halal-related projects and businesses with the potential to increase halal production and export capacities,” said Jamil.
A total of 126 companies were approved for funding earlier this year, with 90% of these owned by Bumiputera, or Muslim Malays.
Vast market potential
The halal industry is one of the fastest growing global businesses as the world’s Muslim population of 1.8bn continues to grow steadily, and is predicted to make-up half of the world’s inhabitants by 2050.
Last year, Malaysia, the world’s leading halal certifier, made approximately US$10bn from halal exports¾although these accounted for just 5% of the country’s overall exports.
Jamil had earlier said that Malaysia’s halal industry still had space for new entrants, and urged firms to grab opportunities not only as manufacturers but also as trading companies.
Non-halal markets cashing in
Jamil also said the halal industry is gaining more attention because of its wide market potential and high demand, and has even encouraged entrepreneurs to emerge from non-Muslim-majority halal markets such as Japan, South Korea, China and France.
Increasingly more major food and beverage companies have already established their operations in Malaysia with the Middle East and Japan accounting most of the food's final destination.
Managing director of the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) Joji Ikeshita was quoted recently as saying that Malaysia has shown very good progress in the halal industry and Japanese companies were very keen to establish and expand their markets through Malaysia.
"Japanese companies are coming to Malaysia to learn about the halal industry and are looking for partners. It's a win-win game. Japanese companies have the quality and record of good business while Malaysians have the knowledge and expertise," he told Malaysia’s official news agency, Bernama.