MIHAS continues to empower the Global Halal Industry

The global halal industry has grown tremendously over the past years. According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report published by Thomson Reuters in association with Dina Standards, the global halal economy isworthan estimate of US$2.02 trillionacross the food, health, and lifestyle sectors,while Islamic finance assets were estimated to have reached US$2.88 trillion in 2019.

Malaysia has always been at the forefrontof this growth. This is due to its pioneering efforts in developing various facets of the halal economy andits position as a global halal hub.

A major platform for this growth has been the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS).

Organised byMalaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), MIHAS has provided global halal suppliers and buyers a credible platform to network and do business for about two decades.

Adapting to the Pandemic with Virtual Technology

The previous edition of MIHAS in 2019 saw incredible success, with the participation of over 1,000 exhibitors from 44 countries and creating over RM1.6 billion in potential sales.

The year 2020, proved to be a challenge, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic,which caused uncertainties across the globe, disrupted the global supply chain, and ultimately reshapedtoday’s economic landscape.

As 2021 rolled in, MIHAS decided it was time to rise above the challenges of the global disaster and pioneered its first virtual showcase. With the theme “Empowering Halal, Tomorrow, Together”, the 2021 showcase began on 9 September and concluded on 31 December 2021.

Digital technology proved its relevance during the pandemic as MIHAS incorporated cutting-edge technological innovations in its virtual version.

MIHAS 2021 featured virtual exhibition booths that were brought to life via a full multimedia microsite. Trade visitors could view the products and services showcased from the safety and comfort of their homes. Being fully online also allowed exhibitors to connect with trade visitors from overseas, with live chat being a helpful mode of communication 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, AI-assisted business matching sessions enabled MIHAS exhibitors to better network with trade visitors and communicate with participants.

Other activities included live knowledge sharing sessions, conferences, and webinars with market leaders offering trade visitors and exhibitors more networking opportunities. Exhibiting brands benefitted from real-time data access that is crucial for analysis and brand development, and to remain competitive in today’s highly digitalised environment.

Succeeding Despite the Obstacles

The option of securing virtual booths was popular with exhibitors, with the added services being around-the-clock accessibility which was particularly convenient for international visitors from different time zones. They were also supported by MATRADE's 46 international offices.

Mr. Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz, MATRADE’s Chief Executive Officer noted that the virtual exhibitors performed very well, with strong sales across all the sectoral pillars that MIHAS was championing. ‘It is apparent that MIHAS has made a strong comeback despite twoyears of absence and being presented for the first time through a virtual format. There were initial concerns if the industry will react positively to the virtual format, and to our pleasant surprise, the response has been overwhelming”, he stressed.

MIHAS 2021 experienced strong increase in the number of participants from international companies, highlighting the trust among global business communities towards the event. This year’s virtual showcase had exhibitors from 43 different countries, including first-time participants from Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago.

With the intention to widen perspectives about the halal industry, the virtual event showcased the 12 key pillars of MIHAS – each representing a growing halal market across the globe. The 12 key pillars were:

  • 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

Among the 12 pillars, sectors that recorded the highest total sales were Islamic financial services, food andbeverages, pharmaceuticals, toiletries & cosmetics, prepared food, and palm oil products.

In line with the Halal value system, there is a growing global trend of consumers preferring cruelty-free brands that areethical and responsible in their business practices.

Towards this end, MIHAS 2021 also emphasised areas related to sustainable innovations and initiatives.

MATRADE aspires for next year’s 18th editionto run on a bigger scale, further improving on the integrated hybrid format of both physical and virtual configuration in hopes of reaching out to more Halal industry players.

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