Malaysia: Shift in consumer behaviour presents opportunity for halal sector

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should take advantage of the shift in consumer behaviour, which is now putting a strong emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness more than ever, by going into the halal sector, says AmBank Islamic.Chief executive officer Eqhwan Mokhzanee said the Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviour as people are now more health-conscious.

“It is important for companies to prepare themselves for the post-Covid-19 situation, being able to transit themselves from traditional businesses as well as to identify new emerging areas of growth.

“We believe that halal is one sector that SMEs can venture into. There is more than just the compliance angle when it comes to halal, as it also involves cleanliness,” he said at AmBank’s BizCONFERENCE webinar session titled “Halal Quest” today.

Eqhwan said being halal certified is no longer exclusive for the food and beverage industry, as it involves the entire end-to-end operation of a business, such as logistics and manufacturing.

Furthermore, he said being halal-certified would strengthen a company’s value proposition thus allowing them to defend their existing market as well as capture new ones.

“At the end of the day, this adds to their proposition while giving more comfort and confidence to their customers,” he added.

Meanwhile, during an earlier webinar session on digitalisation, Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) chief operating officer, Datuk Ng Wan Peng said digital transformation for SMEs is necessary and has the potential to increase business volume by 10 to 20 times.

Cost-wise, she said SMEs could start small in their digitalisation journey or take up grants that are being offered by MDEC, as well as other agencies and the private sector that could help address this process.

In conjunction with the BizCONFERENCE series today, the bank also launched the AmBank BizRACE Season 3.

The business competition would provide knowledge, publicity exposure and networking opportunities for SMEs in three focus areas — Industrial Revolution 4.0, Digitalisation and the Halal Sector.

Registration for the competition is open starting from today until Sept 2, 2020.

As part of AmBank’s SME assistance efforts, the bank also introduced the AmBank BizHUB marketplace to assist SMEs in digitalising their supply-chain and provide an e-commerce platform that will help SMEs connect to other businesses easily.

The AmBank BizHUB marketplace is provided to SMEs with zero entry and set-up costs, which means SMEs are not required to create or develop their own e-commerce platform. — Bernama