NEWS (English)

Japan Eyeing Halal Market, Looking At Malaysia As Base

Japanese food and beverage companies which are aggressively developing their halal industry are looking at establishing centres in Malaysia.

Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) said Malaysia has shown very good progress in the halal industry and Japanese companies were very keen to establish and expand their market through Malaysia.

Some major food and beverage companies have already established their operation in Malaysia with most of the food’s final destination being the Middle-East and Japan.

“Corporations such as Ajinomoto, Asahi Beverage, Kewpie and Umakane are among those who are here,” said Jetro Managing Director Joji Ikeshita in an interview with Bernama.

He added that Japanese companies were not only interested in halal food and beverage but were also actively buying halal logistic, travel, cosmetics and finance companies.

Ikeshita said Japan was set to host the 2020 Olympic Games where there would be an influx of 20 million visitors including Muslim spectators and athletes.

This drives the country to become more Muslim-friendly.

“Japanese companies are coming to Malaysia to learn about the halal industry and are looking for partners. It’s a win-win game. Japanese companies have the quality and record of good business while Malaysians have the knowledge and expertise,” he added.

Other than the halal industry, Ikeshita said Malaysia has excellent expansion in the automobile industry.

The country also has good prominence in service sectors related to manufacturing especially in automobile and the electric and electronic industry, he said.

In the sector, Ikeshita said, as the Malaysian status of living has increased and purchasing power has expanded, there was more demand in areas such as entertainment, education and care service.

There is also a growing demand for care services as the lifetime span of Malaysians have increased.

The “Malaysia My Second Home” programme has also attracted Japanese retirees and there are currently more than 1,000 Japanese under this programme while more were applying to join the programme.

Ikeshita said Japanese companies in Malaysia are hoping for the government to expand its market through trade agreements because most Japanese companies in Malaysia exported their products.

“The trade between Malaysia and Japan now was no longer just business to business but business to consumer,” he added.

This is especially important since Malaysia has graduated from general preferential tariff nation.