NANNING, CHINA, 14 SEPTEMBER 2016: Small business entrepreneurs from the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) are taking the export market in China by storm, with a range of deals and partnerships secured at the 13th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) 2016.
Softa Marketing Sdn. Bhd. from Besut, Terengganu, one of the 20 participating ECER entrepreneurs, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today with China’s Shanghai C-HK International Logistic Inc. to export its fish-based halal food products worth over RM5 million to the country over the next three years.
As part of the MoU, Softa Marketing will be supplying its internationally-certified range of food products such as keropok lekor (fish cracker), prawn and squid crackers to Shanghai C-HK International Logistics, who will act as Softa Marketing’s strategic partner to distribute, promote and market the products in China. The MoU was signed by the Director of Softa Marketing, Wan Mohd Faizal Azizi and the Managing Director of Shanghai C-HK International Logistics, Wilson Wang.
Another company, Mitra Food Industries Sdn. Bhd. renewed its yearly contract worth RM3 million with Zhuolun (Nanning Guangxi) Co., Ltd. to supply its hit products, Musang King White Coffee and Brazilian Cappuccino while CAEXPO newcomer Siti Nora Enterprise secured order worth RM500,000 from Trendset Commerce (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. to export Muruku to China.
“The MoU exchange and orders secured by our entrepreneurs during CAEXPO are truly a significant achievement. These business newcomers have unlocked access to China’s booming market by penetrating Nanning. This is their take off point. Their success is testament that with the right support, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs from the ECER can compete and succeed in global markets, including China. Their achievement also reflects importers’ confidence in Malaysia’s locally-produced halal products which are internationally-recognised and highly sought after,” said Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC after witnessing the MoU exchange ceremony at the Malaysia Pavilion, here, today.
Also present at the signing ceremony were Ong Yew Chee, Director of China Unit MATRADE and Puan Zaimah Osman, Trade Commissioner of MATRADE Guangzhou.
“In fact, apart from these three companies, the other 17 companies have recorded encouraging feedback and received inquiries from potential importers at CAEXPO 2016 which we are currently firming up. I am proud to see these companies grow and are ready to become global players. This is made possible because of our collaboration with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE). The entrepreneurs’ accomplishments are certainly in line with the government’s aspiration of becoming a high-income, inclusive and sustainable nation by 2020 with equal attention paid towards driving both capital economy and people economy,” Datuk Seri Issace added.
Reflecting on Softa Marketing’s success in international market, Wan Mohd Faizal Azizi said, “The MoU signed today shows that local entrepreneurs from Terengganu and ECER are well-positioned to thrive internationally, despite the global economic challenges faced. We are grateful to have been selected to participate in this trade fair as we have benefited immensely from the exposure. More importantly, it will allow us to expand our business and with this, open up new employment opportunities for the locals. This is all thanks to the unceasing support and faith of both ECERDC and SIRIM, who have worked tirelessly to provide us with the right foundation to grow and flourish.”
ECERDC implemented entrepreneur ECER, an entrepreneur development programme in partnership with strategic partners SIRIM, Agrobank and Maybank to groom and develop local entrepreneurs in ECER. Under the SIRIM programme, participants are given guidance and training on product quality, labelling and branding, halal certification, financial management and marketing. As funding and capital are key factors in helping entrepreneurs get off the ground, ECERDC has also formed a strategic partnership with Agrobank and Maybank to offer participants similar guidance as well as access to financing.
As at August 2016, the programme has benefited a total of 4,719 local companies across Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Mersing in Johor. Since its inception, the programme has effectively improved the business prospects and sustainability of participants, thus creating a large pool of successful entrepreneurs who currently enjoy increased profitability and income levels which in turn has generated greater employment opportunities for the local communities in the region.
This is the second year participants from the entrepreneur ECER programme participated in CAEXPO. Last year, 6 of the best companies, including Softa Marketing Sdn. Bhd. and Mitra Food Industries Sdn. Bhd. participated and following the encouraging result, this year, 20 of the best companies were selected by ECERDC to join CAEXPO 2016 from 11 to 14 September. The 20 companies underwent a strict selection criteria set by ECERDC, MATRADE, SIRIM as well as the Chinese Government, which include compliance with international food product standards as well as branding and packaging. This year, they recorded about RM150,000 in immediate sale and potential export worth over RM16 million. Next year, ECERDC plans to select 30 of the best entrepreneurs to participate in CAEXPO 2017.
During CAEXPO 2016, ECERDC had also engaged with potential investors and senior government officials through a series of meetings to explore partnerships and business opportunities in ECER. In addition to the success of the entrepreneurs, in terms of investment, ECERDC has secured potential committed investments of up to RM4.5 billion from investors who are keen to set up operations in Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP).
“The core business of these companies are renewable energy, chemicals and technology. We are working out the details and will announce these investments soon,” said Datuk Seri Issace.