Halal in Asia

Carole McCarthy
Business Services Manager | British Chamber of Commerce Singapore
4th June 2015

Why is it important to be aware of Halal?

Muslims account for about 40% or about 240 million of Southeast Asia's population, thus making Islam the most widely practiced religion in this region. Majorities are found in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, while significant minorities live in Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia.

Rapidly expanding Muslim populations within major markets have created rising demand for Islam-friendly and halal-certified products and services. The global market for Islamic products was worth an estimated US$2 trillion dollars in 2013. This is fueled by the dynamic growth of spending power in markets with a large Muslim population base, such as Indonesia or Malaysia.

Muslim consumerism is now being extended into categories other than food, such as fashion, beauty products, tourism, media, banking and education, as companies look to certify more areas of consumption as religiously permissible.   

Developments around Halal

Halal Tourism & Islamic Hospitality is increasingly gaining footing throughout the world as businesses begin to be aware of this untapped potential. Businesses have been seen to cater to Halal Tourism through creating a Muslim-friendly environment.

For instance, in Japan, the City of Kyoto and Kyoto Convention Bureau (KCB) have been promoting the brand extensively to tourists from all over the world. They have a webpage dedicated to Islamic Hospitality where they list hotels and food outlets which are compliant with their faith and practices. Other Asian countries and cities such as Beijing, South Korea and Thailand are also following in suite.

Halal beauty emerges on the back of growing spending power and young consumer base. Halal beauty ranges are expected to benefit from the growing spending power of the young Muslim population in dynamic markets such as Indonesia or Malaysia.

A number of up-and-coming local brands in Indonesia have been posting high year-on-year growth rates by exploiting this niche, such as Wardah, a pioneer in launching itself as a Halal brand. However, it already has competition from Mazaya Divine Beauty, Mustika Ratu, Caring Colours and Viva, which are established brands that have also been Halal certified in recent years.

This market niche is currently exclusively occupied by local companies in Indonesia, it is very likely that international brands will add Halal certified extensions to their ranges. Halal cosmetics are seeing an upsurge in popularity and demand, not just from Muslim populations worldwide, but also from a growing number of health-conscious consumers who are paying more attentions to the products they put on their bodies.

Halal Applications, Blogs and Cafes have been popping up in Singapore in recent years. This trend is derived from the increasing demand for global products that are halal compliant and outside of the normal Muslim products and cuisines. Singapore has a ‘Halal Eating Guide’ location-based iPhone app which is dedicated to assisting users to seek out Halal-certified establishments. In addition to this, a new crop of savvy business owners are opening cafes serving halal food.

However, there is a fun twist- instead of serving Malay cuisine, these places offer such treats as pancakes, crepes, carrot cake and sandwiches made with naan bread! Lastly, in this information age, many users have created blogs to communicate their travel experiences. They share with the world tips and tricks on how they navigate through countries while complying with their religious practices.  

The Scan Halal App launched in 2010, provides an easy-to-use application that scans, reads and notifies you if the product’s ingredients are in fact all halal. These app is able to scan ingredient labels and automatically determine the statues of food additives! With the increasing affordability and usage of smartphones in the region, this App increases the confidence of a consumer to shop.

About the Business Services Team at the British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore

The Business Services team at the Chamber in Singapore offer advice and assistance on behalf on the behalf of the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) under the “Overseas Business Network Initiative” to UK companies doing and seeking to do business in Singapore.

Support services provided by the Chamber include Advisory Services (Route to Market), Business Matching & Partner identification, Event Organising, Knowledge Exchange, Market Research and Trade Mission support. 

To find out more about how we can assist you, please contact Carole McCarthy at +65 6718 0540 or email her at carole@britcham.org.sg

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