The Japan Times
Global Halal Market
In this new series, we examine the growth of the global halal market and showcase companies offering halal products and services.
MALAYSIAMalaysia’s halal exports
Malaysia’s halal exports
April 25, 2022

Malaysian products and services spurring
steady growth in halal economy

Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz CEO of MATRADE
Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz

Malaysia and Japan have enjoyed a strong bilateral relationship for
decades. This strong and cordial relationship has enabled both countries
to embark on many collaborations across various sectors, especially in
economics and trade. In 2021, Japan continued to be the fourth-largest
trading partner and fifth-largest export destination for Malaysia. Aspiring
to further strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties between both
countries, Malaysia is keen to forge a closer partnership and collaboration
in the halal sector. To date, Malaysia’s halal exports to Japan range from
ingredients, food and beverages to cosmetics and personal care.

Halal is an Arabic term that means permissible or lawful. Driven by the
growth of the Muslim population globally, the halal sector is not only
limited to food and beverages, but also includes cosmetics, personal care,
pharmaceuticals and services such as logistics, banking and e-commerce.
Halal today is no longer confined to the scope of religion, but also
encompasses elements of the U.N. sustainable development goals
throughout its value chain, such as inclusiveness, data integrity, safety
and cleanliness, which are appealing to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

As the leading country in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator index for
eight consecutive years, Malaysia is committed to continuing its active role
in expanding halal’s footprint in the global economy. This global recognition
is a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to making the halal industry
a new engine of economic growth through an extensive ecosystem ranging
from a comprehensive industry master plan and reputable certification
system to facilitation for market access.

The Malaysian government, through the Malaysia External Trade
Development Corporation, also known as MATRADE, plays an integral
role in promoting Malaysia as the global hub for the halal industry through
internationalization of our home-grown players, from micro, small and
midsize enterprises to mid-tier and large companies. As the world
gradually recovers from the pandemic, MATRADE has embraced
digitalization to provide more agile assistance and enhance promotional
activities to ensure that companies remain competitive.

The digitalization agenda for Malaysia’s halal industry was realized when
the 17th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) saw the annual
show held virtually for the first time last year. The event attracted 16,512
visitors and 549 exhibitors from 43 countries, generating close to $600
million in sales.

For 2022, the 18th edition of MIHAS will be presented in a hybrid format,
with the physical showcase to take place from Sept. 7 to 10 in Kuala
Lumpur under the theme “Diversifying Halal Possibilities.” Toward this end,
we encourage more Japanese companies to participate in MIHAS 2022,
as well as in the International Sourcing Programme MIHAS 2022, to
explore and establish partnerships with reputable Malaysian halal
companies in building a presence in the halal market segment.

With the vision to position Malaysia as a globally competitive trading
nation, MATRADE is supported by 46 overseas offices that help
international buyers establish links with Malaysian businesses. Please
visit us at for more information.

Leveraging the growing halal market
in Japan

Niqman Rafaee Mohd Sahar Trade Commissioner, MATRADE Japan
Niqman Rafaee Mohd Sahar
Trade Commissioner, MATRADE Japan

Malaysia is a major participant in Asia's leading international food and beverage exhibition and largest show in Japan, FOODEX JAPAN. Japan’s Trade Commissioner Niqman Rafaee Mohd Sahar poses with His Excellency Ambassador of Malaysia to Japan Kennedy Jawan in March 2021.

As Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency, Malaysia External Trade
Development Corporation (MATRADE) is responsible for facilitating
Malaysian companies’ success in the international market and is also
instrumental in strengthening bilateral trade for the country. Today, as we
continue to put the spotlight on capable Malaysian companies and
exporters, ranging from large corporations and mid-tier companies (MTCs)
to micro, small and midsize enterprises on the international stage, we are
helping to make the phrase “Made in Malaysia” synonymous with
excellence, reliability and trustworthiness.

MTCs played a significant part in accelerating Malaysia’s economic
growth. MTCs are defined as companies with annual revenue between
$12 million and $120 million (¥1.4 billion and ¥13.9 billion) in the
manufacturing sector, or $5 million and $120 million (¥618 million and
¥14.8 billion) in the services sector. Currently, MTCs make up of 2% of all
business establishments in Malaysia, but contributed 40% to the country’s
gross domestic product.

Since 2014, MATRADE had successfully groomed 275 MTCs from
various sectors. For 2020, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,
MTCs’ cumulative export revenue had reached $3.6 billion (¥445 billion),
an increase of almost 4% on the previous year.

The successes of these MTCs can be attributed to their focus on
developing products and services for export markets where they have
managed to establish strong positions. Aside from being export-focused,
these MTCs are also characterized by the ability to embrace innovation,
adopt the latest technology and network robustly with various industries
and stakeholders. What is even more unique about these MTCs is that,
instead of just competing with each other, they also complete each other
by making strategic alliances aimed at successfully penetrating the
international market.

There is interesting demand and new areas for opportunities in the halal
and other related sectors. The food industry in Japan (including retail and
food services) has a market size of more than $700 billion (¥88.2 trillion),
which offers potential for further exploration. Other interesting areas
include lifestyle, modest fashion, beauty and personal care.

For the MTCs, they have grown more aware of the potential of Japan’s
rapidly expanding halal market. Halal products that MTCs have exported
to Japan include personal care products, premium and frozen seafood,
confectionery, coconut-based products and ready-to-eat meals. Other
products in high demand include palm oil, chocolate, snacks, ingredients,
spices and sauces, beverages and others.

MATRADE, through its offices in Japan, has been aggressively promoting
Malaysian products and services through various promotional drives,
including participation in trade fairs, coordination of export-acceleration
missions and the hosting of online webinars and virtual “eBizMatch”
meetings — especially during the pandemic.

MATRADE looks forward to connecting the business community in Japan
with Malaysian businesses, especially MTCs. Please reach out to
MATRADE’s offices in Tokyo and Osaka for trade links, advisory services,
assistance and information on doing business with Malaysia.

Tel : 03-3544-0712~3
Tel : 06-6451-6520
Food & beverages
Skin & body care

The Malaysia International Halal Showcase is the world’s largest halal event and the industry’s No. 1 business platform.

Malaysia is a major participant in Asia's leading international food and beverage exhibition and largest show in Japan, FOODEX JAPAN. Japan’s Trade Commissioner Niqman Rafaee Mohd Sahar poses with His Excellency Ambassador of Malaysia to Japan Kennedy Jawan in March 2021.

Malaysia-Japan trade data
  • 275Mid-tier companies in Malaysia
  • MTCs contribute 40% to Malaysia's GDP
  • $3.6 billion Mid-tier export revenue in 2020
  • $700 billion Value of Japan’s food market