New Zealand businesses underestimating Asian halal economy topic of conference
New Zealand is missing out on opportunities in the global Asian Halal economy by concentrating on food exports and ignoring other avenues worth billions of dollars, The University of Auckland Business School is warning.
Whilst food and its security needs are top of the Halal agenda for Kiwi businesses, the New Zealand Asia Institute – part of The University of Auckland Business School – says those exports are only part of the picture, with other major sectors ripe for the picking in finance, services, IT products, consumer products, travel, tourism, logistics and supply chain, automobile and furniture manufacturing.
Under-utilised Halal markets include Malaysia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan – all countries that New Zealand has existing relationships with – which could unlock billions of dollars of future trade…just as long as New Zealand exporters understand the Halal economy and the needs of Muslim consumers, retailers, investors and policy-makers, the Institute says.
“New Zealand needs to urgently recognise the implications of being a neighbour of Southeast and South Asia, and to understand the growing networks of trade, investment and information exchange that are developing throughout Muslim Asia and that could be extended to New Zealand,” Business School Dean Professor Greg Whittred says.
“The global Halal economy, currently a US$2.3 trillion industry that is growing at a rate of 20% each year, is a juggernaut that New Zealand really needs to get involved with, but despite the potential and proximity that the Halal economy offers, Kiwi businesses appear to be completely complacent about the opportunities presented.”
New Zealand’s largest Halal exports are its lamb, beef, dairy products and financial services concentrated in China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. However, Southeast and South Asia have high proportions of Muslim citizens, expected to increase to more than 30% in the next decade, Professor Whittaker says, and he worries that Kiwi businesses will watch the opportunities pass by passively.
That threat is why the Business School will hold its first-ever Asia Dialogue Conference next month, which will bring business and thought-leaders from Asia to interact with counterparts in New Zealand and generate new insights into commerce, culture and politics.
Led by wellknown Malaysian businessman and executive director of Markmore Energy Tan Sri Halim Saad, the group will include representatives from the International Halal Integrity Alliance, the Halal Industry Development Corporation, the Kazakhstan ambassador in Malaysia, Middle Eastern investors and New Zealand meat producers.
“It is important that Halal is recognised as more than just a commodities-based economy but validated as a much larger and broader entity that includes lifestyle, culture and politics,” Professor Whittred says.
“We are gravely concerned that New Zealand businesses are not seeing Halal as what it is…a superb opportunity to link into an industry that promises to offer endless benefits to New Zealand businesses. That just can’t be allowed to happen.”
The conference, which is open to anyone interested in the topic, will be held on July 13 at the Business School, with further information available at www.asiadialogue.ac.nz.