KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is on track to export RM50bil halal products by 2020 from RM42.18bil last year, aided by more entrepreneurs increasing their presence in the global market, said Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin. He said despite the global economic downturn, demand for halal products, especially food and beverages, remained high with China continuing to be the biggest importer, followed by Singapore and Indonesia. “Next, we are going to work with Saudi Arabia to make it as an entry point as we are about to expand our presence in the African continent,” he told reporters at the Halfest ASEAN 2017 meet-and-greet session here today. Jamil said the African continent had a population of some 1.22 billion, out of which about 200 million are Muslims. However, this market is untapped, mainly due to various problems including in terms of logistics. “That is why during the recent visit by King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud (of Saudi Arabia), Malaysia had discussed with the country to make it as a gateway to enter the Middle East and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. “Next month, we will fly to Saudi Arabia to finalise this cooperation to jointly leverage the halal industry. Besides Saudi Arabia, we will also work with the Japanese to develop the industry there,” he said. He added that in the upcoming Halfest event, ten delegates from Pakistan would be coming to finalise the cooperation with Malaysia.
Halfest ASEAN, or Halal Fiesta ASEAN 2017 will take place from Aug 23-27 at the MINES International Exhibition and Convention Centre and is expected to attract 100,000 visitors. More than 550 booths and 150,000 products and services would be showcased. The five-day event, which is organised by the HDC, aims to become the platform for local entrepreneurs to become the halal champions and to expand their businesses into the international market.