By Siti Hajar in Nanning, Guangxi, China
Consumers waiting to be served by one of the Brunei Halal Brand staff at the Brunei pavilion at the 7th China-Asean Expo in Nanning. – SITI HAJAR
Brunei Halal Brand products, in China for the first time, are literally flying off the shelves.
The team charged with promoting the brand at the 7th China-Asean Expo were seen working overtime yesterday at the Brunei pavilion, two days ahead of the end of the expo, to ensure that they have enough supplies to last them until tomorrow.
With a price range of 10 to 40 Yuan (approximately B$2 to $8), Brunei Halal products such as beverages, crisps, instant noodles, chocolates and Malay biscuits are selling at a blistering pace.
“We could actually sell everything off by (today),” said one of the staff members at the Brunei booth. “But we’re trying desperately hard to ensure that there are enough products on display to attract potential business partners and fill the glass shelves that are used to showcase the hot-selling items.”
The team is currently displaying each product in succession to compensate for items that are selling out.
Ironically, however, the supplies that were brought in were only for testing but customers have insisted on purchasing them and, evidently, pricing is no match for quality in this minimal-income region.
“We know now, so if we come back next year, we’ll bring more,” the team said.
Repeat customers were said to have been knocking on the Brunei Halal Brand door for days in a row, inquiring about the same products.
The local company ran out of the 60 Brunei Halal-branded sparkling juice products by Day Two – mostly purchased by the same man whose children were huge fans of the five different types of beverages.
“He told us to bring more for next year,” the team – apparently inundated with requests and product orders – went on to say.
Visiting the Brunei pavilion, the Bulletin noted that passers-by would sample a certain product, speak to the representatives and go on to bag a minimum of at least two, or more, of the product in question without hesitating.
Ghanim International Food Corp Sdn Bhd currently has minimal stock left on items such as the Sour Cream and Original crisps, peanut and cerelac (a type of easily-digestible instant cereal) products, chocolates as well as their Lemon Moment biscuits.
The response also took Noel Shield, the CEO of Ghanim, by surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting anything,” he said, “It’s interesting.”
Ghanim’s main aim in taking part in the 7th China-Asean Expo, he explained, is to scout for manufacturers rather than distributers, as China has yet to establish a more stable supply chain to venture into some of the small Muslim areas in the country.
He added that there is still a lack of understanding on the Halal concept in the country of over 1.3 billion people.
So, why are the items selling so fast?
“The people I’ve spoken to are very impressed with the quality of the product, and everyone loves the customised packaging,” said Mr Shield.
“They are not so much interested that it is Halal but are interested in a good product at the right price and in something that they can bring home and enjoy.”
Consumer response so far falls in line with the Brunei Halal vision towards providing not only for the Muslim global community but to also ensure that manufactured goods are of high standards and considered as good value for money.