Zilzar.com can be Muslim’s Alibaba, says Najib

zilzar_logoDUBAI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched Zilzar.com yesterday, the world’s first Muslim Lifestyle Marketplace e-commerce platform for trade, content and community for the massive US$2.5 trillion Muslim consumer market.

He hoped that Zilzar.com could be as successful as Alibaba in the Chinese market, taking global halal trading to a new and exciting level.

“The environment and conditions are perfect for this new innovative partnership for economic growth,” he said at the launch of zilzar.com in conjuction with the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).

Najib also said there were more than 1.8 billion Muslims, living in 150 countries around the world; and their appetite for e-commerce was strong and growing.

Present were WIEF Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam and ZILZAR chairman Datuk Dr Vaseehar Hassan Abdul Razack.

The prime minister said the Islamic market was larger than China’s and growing faster that Amazon and e-Bay combined.

“What Alibaba is to the Chinese market, Zilzar.com can be for the Muslim lifestyle sector, creating new businesses and jobs, and bringing Islamic finance to new markets,” he said.

On Zilzar.com, Najib said the new online platform was designed to make it easier for halal traders around the world to conduct business online ethically and efficiently.

“It is free-to-use and will connect millions of consumers while offering businesses a slice of the US$2.5 trillion Muslim lifestyle market.

“The halal industry encompasses everything from food to pharmaceuticals. But its small and medium enterprises in particular are globally dispersed.

“They are crying out for greater connectivity, and for clearer and more concise information about market access and opportunities,” said Najib who is also WIEF Patron.

Noting that this year’s WIEF was focused on ‘Innovative Partnerships for Economic Growth’, he said Zilzar.com was a perfect example of such partnership coming together for the common good of the halal industry and Islamic finance.

“A long overdue merger that could fuel the Islamic economy for decades to come,” Najib added.

Overall, the prime minister said the halal market economy was worth US$7 trillion, the fourth largest economic bloc in the world.

“And by bringing the two most distinctive aspects together, we can unlock new economic opportunities, for our people, our businesses, and our countries.

“Halal bonds Muslims throughout the world, and also forms part of our identity but it can also have a much wider appeal, he said.

In Malaysia, halal certified goods and services are everywhere and “they are used by everyone, regardless of religion.” “In fact, our diversity is one of the reasons that Malaysia is so prominently represented in the global halal market.

“We are used to creating products which are not only Syariah compliant but also consumer friendly and building institutions to support them.

“That includes Islamic finance,” he said, adding that Malaysia launched the world’s first sovereign sukuk a decade ago.

The total global financial assets of the Islamic financial industry is now estimated to be worth more than US$2 trillion.

“It is bringing new opportunities for investors, businesses and nations,” said Najib, who is on a three-day working visit to Dubai from Oct 28 in conjunction of the 10th WIEF.

Saying that Islamic banking was largely unaffected by the global financial crisis, Najib added that it should now have the mandate and the confidence to move forward and take on a stronger leadership position in the world of banking.

As the global Islamic economy matured, these two key sectors – halal goods and Islamic finance – are converging, and creating whole new classes of economic activity, he added. — Bernama