The global Halal industry is one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. Halal is no longer exclusive to the food sector but has also include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, health products and medical devices as well as service sector components such as logistics, marketing, print and electronic media, packaging, branding, and financing. As with more affluent Muslims coming into the scene, lifestyle offerings such as Halal travel, hospitality services and of course fashion, indicates the further expansion of the industry. The Muslim consumer is probably one of the most diverse groups out there and it is only growing larger.
The catalyst for the surprising and steady development is the change in the mind set of Muslim consumers, they are well aware of their faith based-needs as well as the notion that Halal is a way of life that covers all daily aspects. But worldwide ethical consumer trends are another factor, travelling to faraway places is no longer an impossible feat until several years ago. So, there is the Muslim world and there are trends, but who gets the word out to the masses?
The Internet and social media has been a powerful booster to globalization and the drive behind that are the millennials, whose constant presence in the virtual world will only encourage them to share or viral information to others. But to another extend, millennials role in the development of Islamic Economy is critical given the young global demographic of Muslims. Muslims are the youngest (median age of 23 years old in 2010) of all major religious groups world-wide, seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims. By 2030, 29 percent of the global young population (15-29) is projected to be Muslim. (Source: Thomson Reuters)
A survey by the Tabah Foundation, a foresight research unit based in Abu Dhabi partnered with Zogby Research Services, discovered that the majority of Muslim millennials find it important to be known by their Muslim identity and take pride in it. Perhaps with all the misconceptions of being a Muslim in this era, the younger generation feel the responsibility to clarify any scrutiny. In fact, most Muslim millennials includes a member of a different faith within their inner circle of friends.
Findings also include their view that religion is not the reason for social, political and financial decline around the world, especially in Arab regions. Rather, they feel religion will play a key role in creating a better future. Certainly, the millennials are very much optimistic of the future they will inherit.
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With Tokyo being the host for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, global audiences went ecstatic, especially with the brief yet creative presentation by the Japanese during the closing ceremony at Rio 2016. It was loved by all, mainly because Japan had its very own pop culture to leverage on. With famous characters from Japanese manga, anime and video games come to life, Japan managed to make everyone feel relevant, connected and evoked some childhood memories. Who wouldn’t want flock to Tokyo for the Olympics? And they expect a lot of people to come, not just athletes of the games. Tourist and spectators are very much welcome in Japan for the illustrious event, and they want to make sure that everything is covered for everyone.
A few years ago, the country started seeing Muslim travellers from Southeast Asian countries taking off, nearly 271,000 Indonesians travelled to Japan in 2016 and more than 394,000 Malaysians arrived last year. Now, similar interest in Japan from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries are growing. Furthermore, the total number of tourist arrivals in Japan in 2016 surpassed 24 million, well ahead of the 20 million targets set by the national government for 2020. (Source: The Star Online)
It is evident that Japan has a rise in Muslim tourist and they would like to cater to this growing demand, especially in terms of food, accommodation and services. Malaysia aims to be a global Halal hub by 2020 with the country having a comprehensive ecosystem for the Halal industry development agenda. This includes halal certification systems, standards and regulations, infrastructure, incentives, human capital and Islamic banking that are supported by an effective framework from governmental institutions.
While Japan is looking forward to Malaysia’s expertise of said industry, the good relationship between the two countries makes it more effortless and straightforward to form new collaboration and strengthen old ones. After all, Japan is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner in 2016.
Interestingly, representatives from both countries believe that by working together, they can develop their economy to greater lengths. Japan plans to expand their Halal businesses to Europe while Malaysia views Japan as the toughest market to penetrate but holds the key to an abundance of opportunities once successfully gain access to.
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