MIHAS 2021: The catalyst for the local and international halal industry

Malaysia has over the last 17 years hosted the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), which is one of the most important annual events in the calendar of the global halal industry.

The event, which has been organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), aims at providing the global halal business community a platform to interact and trade. MIHAS has been one of the many halal-related initiatives undertaken by Malaysia and it has collectively built the country’s reputation as a leading trade centre and global reference for the industry.

On the domestic front, MIHAS has been acatalyst for the continuous rise of Malaysia’s export in halal products and services, which has contributed significantly to Malaysia’s GDP.

The exhibition focuses on 12 pillars, with each representing a growing halal segment. The 12 key pillars that MIHAS emphases on are:

  • food and beverage
  • education
  • pharmaceuticals
  • services and enablers
  • franchise
  • modest fashion
  • Islamic finance
  • cosmetics and personal care
  • media and recreation
  • Muslim friendly travel
  • e-commerce and
  • food technology

The continued success of MIHAS, especially the 2021 edition which was held virtually, proved its relevance as a platform for local and international halal players to network and gain market access. The virtual mode also facilitated the participation of a greater number of foreign exhibitors despite the global pandemic.

Education

The growing demand for halal standards, regulations and certification opens doors to a world of opportunities in the education sector. In addition to food sciences, halal education stretches across a multitude of disciplines including economics, finance, jurisprudence, and others.

Malaysia’s strong existing infrastructure in the education sector has proved to be a strong pull for many international students to study in Malaysia. To put into further context, there is greater recognition on Malaysia’s strength in the educational sector on various facets of the Islamic economy, especially Islamic finance, as well as technical subjects related to halal fast-moving-consumer-goods.

According to StudyMalaysia.com, Malaysia has at least 47 private universities, 20 public universities, 34 university colleges and 10 international branch campuses, with many of them offering courses that are related to business, Islamic economy, theology and more.

Services & Enablers

There is currently a limited understanding about the integrity and safety of halal products during transportation and other logistic processes. This has led to an increasing demand for halal products, and the importance of halal transportation and logistics services has become apparent.

According to the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, the country has a total of seven major ports with each catering towards the Halal export industry. Northport in Klang has partnered with Maldives Ports Ltd (MPL) in 2021 to establish a sister port relationship in forging strategic cooperation in developing the Halal Silk Route, along with training, secondment of staff and equipment maintenance.

With more and more logistics services and supply chains acquiring the halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Malaysia is closing in on being the world’s leading halal hub. Global events such as MIHAS 2021 sheds light on the potential of the sector and expedite its adoption.

Franchise

Globally, the franchise sector is one of the fastest growing F&B sectors. With the improvement in standards of living, global consumers are increasingly looking out for an international culinary experience, and the halal sector has also benefited from it. For example, Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing halal franchise markets as the sector is well-supported by the government, private sector and consumers. Increasingly, international investors and entrepreneurs are seeking new franchises and MIHAS is well positioned to market international franchises based on halal products and services to them.

Aside from the Halal Food & Beverage business, other Halal business franchises that are leaving a footprint globally include:

  • Cosmetics
  • Slaughterhouses
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Consumer goods; and
  • Personal care

Islamic Finance

Malaysia has a long track record of over 30 years in building a successful domestic Islamic financial industry. This has provided Malaysia with a solid foundation in financial stability and experience. Malaysia ranks first in the 2021 edition of the Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI) and this serves as recognition of the strength of the industry in the country, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Media & Recreation

According to State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2020/21, Malaysia was ranked second after the UAE in the media and recreation sector. The sector has elevated Malaysia’s halal trade to greater heights by releasing new films and documentaries with Islamic content that incorporates Muslim history, culture, and stories. Globally, new Islamic channels are constantly going on air, and the streaming of many Islamic programmes have become popular among both the Muslim and non-Muslim community alike.

E-commerce

The sector contributed RM30.5 billion or 6.6 percent of Malaysia’s GDP in 2020, fuelled largely by the proliferation of various e-commerce platforms.

Finding legitimate halal products has always been a challenge for global Muslim consumers, but with the help of certified halal e-commerce marketplaces, an array of Halal products and services are now being made accessible with just a few clicks.

MIHAS 2021 was successful in generating sales for exhibitors and other exporters, as well as increasing the number of participants from international companies. This highlights the trust among global business communities towards the event. MIHAS 2021’s online platform attracted exhibitors from 43 different countries with Indonesia leading in sales among the international entrants with a whopping RM403.4 million, followed by the Philippines (RM 199.3 million), Vietnam (RM103.8 million), Pakistan (RM36.0 million), and Brazil (RM13.2 million.)

MATRADE is now working on the 18th edition of MIHAS, planned for the 7th of September 2022.It is aimed to run on a larger scale, targeting a bigger number of participants and generating more in revenue.

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