Halal Pharmaceuticals: A New Frontier

Muslims now are increasingly more aware of what goes into their bodies, paving the way for growth of the Halal pharmaceutical industry. In 2016, the sector was valued at USD 83 billion, a six percent growth compared to the previous year. It is expected to grow eight percent year-on-year to reach USD 132 billion by 2022.

Pharmaceutical companies like Pharmaniaga and AJ Pharma are spearheading innovation in the Halal pharmaceutical centre, investing substantial amounts into the development of Halal vaccines. The world’s first Halal vaccine manufacturing centre is also planned to be built in Malaysia within the next three years, where the vaccines will be produced and exported around the world.

According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017/18, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the best developed Islamic economy for Halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, followed by Singapore and Malaysia. This is based on four criteria – trade, governance, awareness and social.

In the last two years, the Halal pharmaceutical industry saw several key developments. Among these was the world’s first Halal license for prescription medicine given out by Malaysia’s religious authority, JAKIM, to Chemical Company of Malaysia (CCM) last year. Meanwhile, Indonesia is gearing up for mandatory Halal products this year, and UAE’s ESMA will require all Halal imports to be certified.

Within the Halal pharmaceutical sector, Halal nutraceuticals has been identified as a major growth segment that can experience rapid growth if supported by patient, strategic investment. With robust marketing and investment from financial and corporate entities alike, this opportunity can be realised.

Developing new products based on robust primary research is critical for Halal pharmaceuticals to develop a viable business model, as well as the ability to market the products to a broader range of consumers. Growth capital will also be critical to investing in research and development, expanding manufacturing capabilities and broadening focus in new markets. This is where multinational companies can play a significant role by providing Halal products as well as an important stepping stone as an investor.

However, as with any other innovation in any industry, it is not without its challenges. Experts have identified the main challenge being the limited focus on Halal as a proposition. If challenges aren’t addressed, the sector will remain a niche, limiting its growth.

There is a also a critical, life-saving role for Halal Pharmaceuticals, with the growing phenomenon of people, especially children, not being inoculated against diseases over concerns about ingredients in vaccines, including porcine gelatin and non-Halal ingredients. Although this challenge has not been addressed by the conventional sector, AJ Pharma is working on the world’s first non-animal origin vaccines.

Companies involved in the Halal pharmaceutical industry can capitalise on the latent potential of this sector while addressing the challenges in order to boost not only their businesses but also to take the industry to new heights, tapping into the growth of the sector. The industry has taken huge leaps forward as of late, but if more companies get involved, it could go even further, opening up whole new possibilities.

MIHAS Over The Years

‘If you want to introduce your product or services in the Halal market, it’s a must to come to MIHAS.’


CEO and Co-Founder, Halal.Ad, DENMARK

The debut of MIHAS in April 2004 was officiated by then-Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, who was instrumental in identifying ‘Halal’ as a potential economic growth engine. As Malaysia’s efforts to create an eco-system for Halal businesses to grow gained traction around the world, MIHAS grew alongside it to become the lead exhibition for the burgeoning Halal market.

MIHAS 2004 attracted 330 companies from 19 different countries and was visited by more than 17,000 trade visitors from 42 countries. Fast forward to 2017, MIHAS welcomed more than 345,000 trade visitors from over 80 different countries looking to source for the latest Halal products and services. This in turn, has resulted in an accumulated trade of USD 4 Billion for its participants.

Whilst MIHAS started out attracting mainly Halal food and beverage companies, today, MIHAS provides the platform for the entire spectrum of demand for Halal products and services. This includes pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, finance, Muslim-friendly tourism, e-commerce, and logistics.

The exhibition also grew from being mainly a sourcing platform to one where participants could gain useful market and industry knowledge.

In its 15th edition this year, MIHAS is well placed to serve the Halal industry even better. Not only is MIHAS set to double in size, the breadth and depth of its programmes are designed to cater to the needs of Halal businesses and executives from various sectors. From innovation, to industry and consumer trends, to market and country insights, to technology and finance, MIHAS will cement its place as the largest and most effective trade exhibition platform for the Halal Industry.

MIHAS will take place from 4 – 7 April, at the new, state of the art Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in one of the world’s most visited cities, Kuala Lumpur. Amongst its leading programmes include the International Sourcing Programme (INSP) – MATRADE’s signature B2B matching platform for Malaysian companies, a Hosted Buyer programme, in-depth panel discussions at its Trade Zone, Industry-themed seminars, the MIHAS Awards and a comprehensive trade visitor promotions programmes.

MIHAS welcomes all industry professionals, business owners, retailers, manufacturers and solution providers from across the globe to come together to the event and enjoy the prospects of collaborating with one another.

5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of MIHAS 2018

Participating in exhibitions, conferences and trade shows is a good idea for businesses to showcase their products and services. What’s more you will be attending the biggest halal exhibition in the world, MIHAS 2018! If this is the first time your brand is participating in MIHAS, we have listed down a few tips to make your MIHAS 2018 experience an enriching opportunity for all. The quote “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail” rings true, so let’s delve right in.

1. Research, Research, Research

It is important for you to do your research before jumping in on the exhibition bandwagon. Identify your objective for participating in MIHAS 2018. If you are looking for trade partners and collaborators, this would be the ideal avenue. Last year alone, 576 exhibitors from 80 different countries participated in MIHAS. Other items to look into can include finding out which of your competitors are also exhibiting, what are the most efficient and cost-effective logistics options and what your business target audience is like. These added insights could keep you ahead of the game, setting your business ahead of your competitors.

From time to time, the Secretariat will keep you up to date with the latest news on MIHAS and other trends in the halal industry via our social media platforms. Do follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

2. Consider Your Booth Aesthetics and Layout

A creative display can make or break your event. Not only can it increase footfall to your booth, a well done display also leaves a good impression on a potential future trade partner. A good display represents what your brand aspires to be. Other than the lightings and the graphic display, another aspect to be put into consideration is a practical layout that would enhance customer experience and open their minds to what you have to offer. When setting it up, you could ask the following questions to ensure an optimal layout for visitors. Is the booth too cluttered with collaterals? Can discussions be done conducively at your booth? What will be the premium gifts for visitors? A premium gift should be practical for the receiver and ideally durable to assist in top mind recollection. Gifts such as ball pens, thumb drive, notepads are good to meet such objective. Besides that, you could also look into experiential design for your booth such as coming up with one activity, be it trying a sample, receiving free gifts, small contests, photo booth for social media and interactive touch points, among others. These little known techniques if executed right keeps you ahead of the game during the exhibition. Should you need more information on available booths and contacts for local booth construction, MIHAS Secretariat would be happy to assist you.

3. Pre-event Marketing

It is less than four months before MIHAS 2018 takes place. You need to have a clear marketing plan in place to promote your attendance in MIHAS 2018. Sending out e-mails or brochures to your existing audience is a given, but you should also consider how you will be reaching the trade visitors and future prospects. Create hype by having countdown to MIHAS 2018 in all your communication channels that includes social media as well as newsletters. Follow the social media accounts of MIHAS and join in the conversation, anything to get your presence in the event known. If you are interested in marketing to businesses and prospective trade partners, follow our LinkedIn group and start a conversation with other key players in the industry.

Collateral preparation is also an integral part of participating in exhibitions. Spend some time to tweak and personalise the message to the visitors and your target trade partners. An example would be creating a classy business invitation to targeted trade partners for a discussion. As MIHAS will be a great opportunity for you to network, bring enough name cards! Be prepared to create a one-off promotional campaign just for the event to create a sense of urgency in your prospects.

4.Organise Your Business And Logistics

Regardless of your company size, losing a few personnel for a few days will create bottlenecks in the daily business operation. It is important for businesses to anticipate any challenges that could arise in their regular business operations due to pulling away manpower from these operations to attend MIHAS 2018. Do also ensure there are enough representatives during MIHAS 2018 to cater to the expected large volume of crowd as well as having key personnel whom are authorised to meet with key leaders of the industry during the business networking sessions.

If your business is not based in Malaysia, some of the considerations could be transportation for local and domestic travels. The transportation assessment should include items such as international flights for personnel, courier services for exhibition assets, and transportation and logistics during the exhibition. Another item to consider is if the construction of the exhibition booths are to be at the base country or Malaysia, possible immigration and customs issues, as well as accommodation for your company’s personnel. Our Secretariat is ready to assist you with your questions pertaining to MIHAS 2018.

5. Marketing During the Event and Post Event

It is now easier than ever to personalise marketing communications to your intended audience. The marketing effort should not end at the booth. Conduct a live tweet or a live feed of the exhibition! Expand your reach to attract customers beyond the physical boundaries of your booth. Create excitement and hype as well as make your brand look more relatable. If you are attending any of our other activities such as MIHAS Kitchen and the Trade Talks, live tweet and add our hashtags to gather a bigger audience for your brand. Relevant hashtags are: #MIHAS2018 #halal #ThinkHalalThinkMIHAS

This sounds far ahead in the future, but a business should already plan its strategy for post-event marketing. How will you reach the new and prospective customers and trade partners that you have gained at MIHAS 2018? Ensure a proper system is in place to nurture the new relationships via e-mail, telephone and other modes of communication. Do address any arising questions that were unable to be answered during the exhibition. Should time be a limitation during the exhibition, do join our LinkedIn Group to stay in touch with other key players of the industry and engage in interesting conversations at the link.

In conclusion, preparing for MIHAS 2018 should be comprehensive, but it does not have to be daunting. By taking these tips into consideration and tailoring it to the business’ end goal, you will be able to enjoy the experience even more!

2017 Halal Industry Milestones

With 2017 drawing its curtain, we review the year by looking at the milestones and key events surrounding different sectors in the Halal industry. The past year was witness to several important developments along with increasing recognition of the halal industry across the board. From the beauty sector to finance, as well as sustainability being an integral part in all conversations, how does the industry fare and what could we look forward to in 2018?

Islamic Finance

The global Islamic finance industry has seen some key developments over 2016 and 2017. Its value grew by 10% between 2015 and 2016, to USD2.2 trillion at the end of December 2016. Increasingly, non-OIC countries are embracing Islamic finance, with Yielders being the first Islamic FinTech firm to get UK regulatory approval, and the Reserve Bank of India including Islamic Finance to improve financial inclusion in India, while more OIC countries are realising the potential of Islamic finance. Saudi Arabia issued the first global sukuk worth USD9 billion, rated A+ with a stable outlook by Fitch, and the sukuk industry continues to mature with sizeable, billion-dollar issuances. Meanwhile, the existing standards for Islamic finance have broadened, while global regulations are being expanded to address Islamic finance.

Halal e-commerce

Global retail e-commerce sales is estimated to reach USD2.3 trillion by the end of 2017, up from USD1.9 trillion in 2016, and experts forecast that it will reach USD4.5 trillion by 2021. Asia as a whole commands 50% of the global e-commerce consumer market, dominated by China with USD672 worth of annual online sales which represents 15.9% of its total retail sales, while North America’s market share in the market has been slowly dropping and is expected to continue on this trend. Meanwhile, as self-service goes on the rise, B2B e-commerce sales dwarfs that of B2C, estimated to reach USD7.7 trillion by the end of 2017. The best examples of companies embracing the B2B e-commerce environment are marketplace behemoths Amazon and AliBaba, the latter of which generates 80% of sales in China and connects Western businesses with Chinese manufacturers.

Sustainability in Halal Industry

The world is witnessing a gradual shift towards Halal goods and services in several sectors including food, travel, finance and cosmetics, among others. The past year has seen an increasing demand for ethical, sustainable, environmentally and socially responsible goods and services driving the growth of the Halal market, not among Muslims but also showing growing acceptance by non-Muslim consumers. Involvement of governments and private sectors contribute to the sustainability of the Halal ecosystem through certification by religious authorities as well as implementation of policies which help boost the industry. Religious authorities of several countries are also working together towards establishing a global Halal standard which would ensure an even more sustainable industry going forward.

Halal Fashion & Beauty

According to a Thomson Reuters report, Muslims worldwide have spent about USD243 billion in the halal market, out of which USD44 billion was earmarked for modest fashion. Nike announced earlier in the year that they will venture into the sports hijab line in Spring 2018, however, launch was brought forward to early December, showing a global interest in modest fashion. 2017 saw a huge leap in modest sportswear, where not only highly acclaimed global brands like Nike jumped onto the bandwagon, but also Turkish label Mayovera innovating Muslimah’s swimwear. The increasing normalisation of Muslimah sportswear is supported by Cindy van den Bremen, designer at Capsters with “ The image of a woman wearing hijab while working out will be normal and more women worldwide will be aware of the existence of sports hijab”. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, the Prime Minister has urged more entrepreneurs in the cosmetics industry to venture into halal beauty and health products citing a growth of up to 20% of the total market share for such products.

Womenpreneurs in Halal Market

2017 witnessed milestones in female empowerment with the largest feminist rally and the #MeToo movement. With the topic being widely discussed and championed, the year has seen more women joining the entrepreneurship bandwagon and is supported by the governments as well as the financial institutions. Banks and non-bank institutions are providing micro-loans to women in Bangladesh and Pakistan under the Islamic Banking options. A study done by J Walter Thompson in September stated that young Muslim women are becoming influential figures especially in tourism and fashion and this is supported due to their technological savvy and entrepreneurial know-how. With Muslim business women such as Vivy Yusof starring in her own reality TV show and celebrities turned entrepreneurs Noor Neelofa and Yuna inspiring not just their local community but Muslimahs worldwide, the rise of womenpreneurs is set to blaze through in 2018.

Halal Tourism

Halal tourism grows on firmer footing in 2017. Key market players have conceded that more countries are catering to Halal requirements such as having prayer areas in tourist locations and airports, more Halal options for food & beverages and itineraries catered to the Muslim Market. Faeez Fadhlillah of TripFez stated that revenue for the company has superseded the original 300% projected growth and the company has indexed 55,000 accommodation establishments across 50 countries. The growth has been attributed to the digital boom and increasing discretionary income of young Muslims. One of the findings from the Crescent Rating report shows that 46% of Muslim millennials travel two to five times a year for the length of four to six days per trip. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Spain and South Africa are some of the countries that are trying to be attractive to the Muslim segment as it is projected that 156 million Muslim travellers will be in the market by 2020.

Other Growing Industries

By category, food & beverage holds the biggest share in the halal industry. In the Global Islamic Economic Report 2017-2018, the halal F&B consumption is valued at USD1.24 trillion. The Halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sector is said to be growing with the innovation of Halal nail polish and makeup. Muslims spend on pharmaceuticals is forecast to reach USD132 billion by 2022. Pharmaniaga, a Malaysian pharmaceutical company is set to invest RM100 million to develop halal and cost-effective vaccines for the public.

The Halal industry is steadily growing, and is gaining traction among industry players worldwide. The inclusiveness of the industry which can be integrated into all sectors makes it an attractive niche for companies to invest in as the opportunities are endless. Moving forward, the Halal industry is expected to continue on this path as it garners more attention and exposure.

The Reach For Muslim Millennials

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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Malaysia’s Indirect Role for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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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