PHI Core Services

Penang Halal International (PHI) is the state government agency responsible for the promotion of the Halal business ecosystem in the state of Penang in Malaysia. Towards that end, PHI focuses on 3 strategic pillars namely the empowerment of local entrepreneurs, the promotion of Penang as ASEAN’s Halal hub, and the digitalisation of the Halal sector.

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Empowering local entrepreneurs

One of the most important pursuits in PHI’s effort in building a vibrant Halal business ecosystem is to empower local entrepreneurs to become domestic, regional and international champions. To do so, PHI places a strong emphasis in the capacity building of Halal entrepreneurs in order to prepare them to serve wider markets, beginning with an expansion within the country, followed by penetration into regional markets such as ASEAN and finally into international markets such as MENA, EU, North America, Africa and LATAM. Capacity building takes the form of training in a myriad of areas such as Halal certification, the Halal Assurance System, financial management, supply chain management, digital marketing and many more. Thus PHI provides Halal entrepreneurs with a year-long training calendar to help them get up to speed with critical skills and expertise for them to venture into markets beyond.

The next phase in the entrepreneurs journey is market connectivity. Through PHI’s organised events such as the Penang International Halal Expo & Conference (PIHEC) dedicated mainly for B2B and export ready players, and the Penang International Halal Food & Heritage Festival (PIH2F) focused mainly on micro SMEs and restaurateurs, entrepreneurs get the chance to ply their trade in wider markets, promote their products to a diverse group of customers from retailers, wholesalers and investors in domestic and international markets. This is in addition to several other trade events that PHI participates in such as MIHAS, SIBS, Halal Expo and many more.

To further promote Halal food in Penang, PHI established the Halal Penang channel on social media to map all the Halal certified restaurants and eateries in Penang. Halal Penang consists of food vlogs containing food reviews, star rankings, and average budget of meals. This helps facilitate tourists looking for Halal food in Penang, and also helps to promote Halal restaurants and eateries to a wider market.

In our pursuit to nurture the next generation of Halal entrepreneurs who embrace Halal as part of the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) framework, the latest cutting-edge technology for the Halal sector and best practices in corporate governance and financial management, PHI has in store an entrepreneurial leadership program called Global Leadership Program (GLP), in which we invite budding entrepreneurs interested in venturing into the Halal sector for a week-long immersive leadership course that focuses on entrepreneurial leadership, ESG, Halal certification, latest digital technology and best practices in business management. It is our hope that graduates from GLP will become impactful figures in the Halal sector and form an alumni community that continue to strengthen the partnerships between various communities around the world within the Halal sector.        

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Penang as the Halal Gateway of the East

Penang is a state with the highest GDP per capita in Malaysia, and one that remains as Malaysia’s most progressive state in terms of various life quality indexes. In 2021, Penang recorded its all-time highest manufacturing investment of RM76.2 billion, led the entire nation’s exports with a 33.9% market share at RM42 billion, as well as the nation’s total trade at RM64.3 billion.

Penang has a stellar pedigree of industrial excellence and in 2021 celebrated its 50 years anniversary of industrialization. Not many can dispute the fact that Penang has one of the most attractive businesss ecosystems in the country, if not in the region. This owes to the fact that Penang is not only a natural tourist destination for food, beaches, heritage and natural landscapes, but it is also home to an eclectic mix of ethnic diversity working together to make this northern state a great destination for business and investment.

Penang is a successful case study where Muslims and non-Muslims alike not only coexist, but also work together to achieve common goals of peace and prosperity. The Halal industry is a case in hand as we see a seamless amalgamation of Muslims and non-Muslims in Penang in various sectors of the Halal industry, learning from each other’s experience and expertise, and developing new ideas to enrich the Halal industry in Penang.

Penang is a natural home for many foreign companies especially in the E&E sector, but increasingly attracting players from the F&B sector. Penang boasts foreign companies who have been in Penang for decades, and as a result, many foreign nations have made Penang their second home. It is not unusual to see Westerners who are not tourists, but actual long-time residents in Penang in the various cafes and eateries sprawling across Georgetown.

Penang’s various industrial parks located in different parts of the main land and the island also cater for Halal players. The Penang Halal Industrial Park (PHIP)’s Phase 1 is located south of Penang Science Park (PSP) in Bukit Minyak. The land is dedicated for food and pharmaceutical activities. PHIP’s Phase 2 was developed solely for food and food-related industries at the North of PSP. Phase 2 or Food Zone is promoted in collaboration between PDC, invest Penang and Penang Halal International.

Both Phases 1 & 2 of the PHIP has been accorded the HALMAS status from Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC). Through the HALMAS status, industry players enjoy tax and import duty exemption on raw supply for their respective production.

The industrial land consists of a comprehensive mix of development that offers solid investment opportunities, an idyllic living and working environment. The Penang State welcomes investment of niche, strategic and high-technology industries especially in the Halal F&B and healthcare sectors to make Penang their new home.

More areas to develop as Halal industrial zones focusing on e-commerce fulfilment is being explored to take advantage of the rapid growth of cross-border e-commerce in the region. This will be the perfect time for foreign investors to consider Penang as a Halal Gateway of East, where they can position themselves to benefit from Penang’s role as the epicenter of ASEAN, being very close to Thailand, Vietnam, and the Sumatran part of Indonesia.

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Halal Hub for Data & Dialogue

The global Halal industry is worth USD2.8 trillion today and is set to expand to USD5 trillion by 2030. This steady growth comes with volumes of data, best practices and innovative ideas. PHI aims to capture some of these critical data and conversations on best practices, latest trends and innovative ideas in the form of research pieces and conversations. Towards that end, PHI’s Business Dialogue Series is a business and tech-focused podcast series which focuses on the world of business and technology, hosting conversations with thought leaders, captains of industry, entrepreneurs, policymakers, futurists, technologists and academicians. This is to facilitate Halal sector players from embracing new ideas and trends to grow their businesses better, and enhance the overall framework of the industry in many years ahead.    

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