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Drawing over 1,444 delegates from 56 countries, the 11th World Halal Conference (WHC) 2019 was successfully held on April 3 and 4 in Kuala Lumpur. Participants included government representatives, business leaders, halal industry players, entrepreneurs, scholars and stakeholders. Discussions highlighted various growth opportunities in the halal market and the need to continuously reinvent, re-energize and re-anchor the industry.

WHC 2019 also witnessed the launch of Bungkus by Honestbee, a mobile app-based food delivery service company committed to ensure the halal status of the delivered products is uncompromised throughout the delivery process. Bungkus is the first halal-certified food delivery service in Malaysia that only delivers from halal-certified merchants.

Additionally, this year’s conference saw strategic collaboration between several partners, including Duopharma Biotech Berhad, Nestle Malaysia, McDonalds Malaysia, Echo Foxtrot Sdn. Bhd. (Bungkus by Honestbee), the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Hong Leong Islamic Bank and the Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia.

According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2018/19, Muslims spent $2.1 trillion in 2017 in the food, beverage and lifestyle areas. By category, food and beverage marked the top spending at $1.3 trillion, followed by fashion at $270 billion. Additionally, there was $209 billion spent on media and recreation, $177 billion spent on travel, $87 billion spent on pharmaceuticals and $61 billion spent on cosmetics.

Forecasts show overall spending on halal food, beverage and lifestyle could reach $3 trillion by 2023, out of which spending on food and beverage is predicted to reach $1.9 trillion. This means that opportunities are increasing for investment and the establishment of global halal food brands, and more companies are diversifying and expanding their product portfolios to cater to increasingly sophisticated tastes.

Contributing significantly to Malaysia’s economic growth since 1974, the halal industry accounted for 7.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2017, with exports reaching slightly over 40 billion Malaysian ringgits. This is expected to rise to 8.7 percent with exports reaching 50 billion Malaysian ringgits by 2020.

To internationalize small- and medium- sized enterprises in the halal industry through collaboration with large Malaysian companies as well as multinationals, a memorandum of agreement was signed during WHC 2019 between the Halal Industry Development Corp. (HDC) and F&N Beverages Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd. for the Halal Sourcing Partnership Program.

Witnessing this memorandum, Khalid Abdul Hamid, director of the Service Industry Section of the Ministry of Economic Affairs emphasized, “We hope such initiatives will increase the involvement of local companies as suppliers to multinational corporations and large local companies, expanding their market space.”

The Honorable Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad outlined the country’s macro strategies during the recently held Invest Malaysia Conference 2019 and stated the importance of driving productivity and promoting quality investment to strengthen the resilience of the Malaysia economy. “In this regard, WHC 2019 is offering opportunities in investment through cooperation and further collaboration in the halal economy,” said HDC’s Hanisofian Alias.

Additionally, during WHC 2019, Khalid also presented the Halal Excellence Awards to honor and recognize organizations that have demonstrated exceptional contributions and achievements for the development of the overall halal industry and to showcase truly inspiring role models for other businesses to follow. Duopharma Biotech Berhad was awarded the Halal Brand Excellence Award for their high-profile brand and trademark. The coveted Halal Science Research Award was presented to UKM Unipeq in acknowledgement of their efforts and commitment in innovative halal research and development. Kumpulan Ramly was awarded the Halal Excellence for a Malaysian Company as a fast-growing halal champion for its innovative business processes and global success. The HDC Halal Performance State Excellence Award was given to the State of Selangor for its outstanding initiatives. McDonald’s Malaysia received the HDC Halal CSR Excellence Award for its excellent service and environmental sustainability.