Singapore eyes 'advanced' Halal Hub status, looks to dish out SG$100m

Non-profit organisation Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI) has partnered with asset management company Elite Partners Capital to develop a Halal Hub in Singapore's Western region, touted to be the "most advanced of its kind" in Southeast Asia. The entire project is estimated to cost between SG$80 to SG$100 million and construction will take approximately two years to complete.

The Halal Hub will house halal food processing units, central kitchens, cold-rooms, a Halal Excellence Centre and logistics operations in a multi-storey state-of-the-art complex. The partnership will leverage SMCCI's position as a touch-point between the local and international business communities to enable Singaporean companies to scale, expand and globalise their halal operations.

Elite Partners will be responsible for conceptualisation, funding and asset management of the hub, which will offer its tenants opportunities for digitalisation, partnerships and branding initiatives. The Hub will leverage on Elite Partners’ management team, which is experienced in private equity, asset management and investments.

Both partners aim for the Hub to serve the blue ocean market in the Asia Pacific region where there is high demand for halal food. According to the press statement, Singapore is "well-equipped" to become ASEAN's halal hub due to its strong legal framework, quality control and logistical and services infrastructure. Beyond logistics and connectivity to international markets, tenants will also have access to a wide range of legal, administrative and IT related functions.

Shamir Rahim, president of SMCCI, said: “We are pleased to be a part of this initiative to develop Singapore into a global Halal Hub. We believe that the Hub will be at the forefront of innovation in the Halal industry and can offer businesses a huge leg up in terms of procurement, production, distribution and international expansion.”

Victor Song, CEO and managing director of Elite Partners added that the Hub will complement the halal industry while enhancing business processes through the integration of Halal-related services in one ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is also pushing for the country to become a global halal hub, establishing the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) as a one-stop agency in the development of the halal industry. HDC works closely with potential investors to position Malaysia as the "most attractive place" in the region to invest where halal-related manufacturing is concerned.

Recently, the Malaysian government came up with new methods to enhance its halal certification system in an effort to become a global halal hub. The 2019 Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) held last month also saw a 5.7% increase in sales from RM1.5 billion to RM1.6 billion. According to multiple media reports, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation CEO Wan Latiff Wan Musa said Malaysian companies saw 81% of total sales, obtaining the biggest chunk of business, while other countries with notable sales included Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.