The Halal Development Corporation Bhd (HDC) will be organising the 15th annual World Halal Business Conference (WHBC) on Oct 27-28 this year in London, United Kingdom (UK).

The conference will be officiated by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who will be accompanied by Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and Foreign Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir.

During an interview with Bernama, chief executive officer, Hairol Ariffein Sahari said that after 13 years of organising the conference locally, HDC has decided to bring the brand outside of Malaysia.

The agency had successfully organised it in Melbourne, Australia last year, with over 300 participants from 40 countries.

During the event, the Selangor state government announced a strategic collaboration with the Victoria State Government, Australia on investment opportunities in the Selangor Halal Economic Zone, with an economic value of over RM10 billion.

The event also resulted in more than 30 business matchings, involving more than 30 companies from Malaysia and Australia.

“WHBC is a good platform where policymakers, leaders, experts and researchers from all over the world come and talk about halal, so that we can have more robust and sustainable linkages while supporting the halal supply chain,” he said.

The 15th WHBC, themed ‘Halal Opportunities In A Borderless World’, will also see the gathering of heads of governments, academics and captains of industries where they would discuss, share knowledge and facilitate the growth of the global halal economy.

For this year, the HDC will bring about 40 exporters from Malaysia to the UK for the business matching session, said Hairol Ariffein, adding that the event is expected to attract around 400 to 500 participants.

He highlighted that the HDC has introduced a number of services, including training, consultancy and advisory services on digital transformation as well as branding and promotion, adding that the WHBC is part of its branding and promotional activities.

“WHBC is a thought leadership conference where we invite experts and also thought leaders from all over the world to speak about the future of the halal industry.

“As we know, the halal industry has been growing very well over the past 15 years, but where is it in terms of economic development?

“When people talk about the halal industry, the focus is on the religious and certification aspects, but nobody really talks about halal in terms of economic and ecosystem development as a whole,” he said.

On another note, he said WHBC 2023 would echo Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for halal diplomacy to connect Malaysia's halal ecosystem and the ecosystem available in other parts of the world.

“This is a very important initiative because in order for us to internationalise our halal agenda, we must work on more business-to-business collaborations and also government-to-government cooperations,” said Hairol Ariffein.

During the interview, HDC introduced one of its main partners for WHBC 2023, namely German-based company ACO Group, one of the world’s leading water technology companies.

Managing director for Southeast Asia, Adrian Lau said ACO has a strong footprint in 50 countries and around 40 plants in 18 countries, adding that the group is now eyeing for halal certification as an added value proposition for its products and services.

“ACO is committed to bringing the best hygienic technologies into the halal ecosystem, and we are looking at halal and halalan thoyyiban.

“Halal is the lawful aspect or obligation that must be observed, but the holistic approach of halal is where thoyyib (the good aspect) must be observed such as emphasising cleanliness, safety, hygiene and quality,” he said.

Lau said the move to partner with the HDC will help the company expand its footprint.

“We want to be part of the ecosystem, the prerequisite for the approval of our halal certification.

“In Malaysia, we are currently focusing on the big players such as Nestle, Mondelez, Coca Cola and some hotel chains as well, and we are also looking to partner with HDC in all the halal parks in the future,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency