Many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have suffered from the instatement of the MCO since March 2020. One of the ways Penang has supported entrepreneurs who were adversely affected by the pandemic is to open up new avenues where business owners can operate.
From June 15 until December 31 2020, Penang Halal International (PHI) had collaborated with Shopee Malaysia to launch the Penang E-Mall to support micro-businesses as well as SMEs selling a variety of products including food, fashion, and home appliances. According to State Entrepreneurial Development, Trade and Industry Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain, the endeavor had resulted in a whopping RM583 million in sales in just six months and involved 15,000 sellers across the state. Out of that number, 10,000 are new to e-commerce, while more than 700 of them sell halal products.
The state-owned agency, PHI, has long been a facilitator and promoter of the halal industry in Penang. It provides training to halal entrepreneurs through talks and courses as well as organises halal events and expos.
In May 2020, PHI underwent a rebranding and restructuring to focus on sustainability and the development of a Halal Business Ecosystem with inclusivity of all communities in mind. Formerly known as the Penang International Halal Hub (PIHH) Development, PHI’s new company name and branding are meant to further emphasise their commitment to build, develop, and grow the halal industry and guide industry participants to be more competitive in both domestic and international markets, while at the same time attract more international investors and businesses to Penang.
PHI chief executive officer Aida Lim Abdullah was pleased that Penang E-Mall succeeded in helping many halal businesses gain recognition and support from Malaysians. “There is so much potential within the Penang sellers, and this campaign has provided an accessible platform for them to succeed in this digital era and embrace halal lifestyle for all,” she added.
In December 2020, PHI also debuted an innovative cross-border e-commerce platform — the International Inspirasi Khadijah Virtual 2020. Featuring at least 80 e-exhibitors, the platform served as a virtual exhibition for women entrepreneurs and aimed to promote and connect business operators selling women-centric products and services for cross border market.
The exhibition also virtually connects some of the world’s wholesale fashion, women-centric products marketplaces, global retailers, buyers, and fashion decision makers with emerging and independent brands from Malaysia and across the region. Aida Lim Abdullah called it “an interactive online event that brings together a group of people with similar interests or expertise so that they can learn from one another”.
2 types of packages were offered to the participating merchants: the standard package costs RM1,280 and comes with a company name on the booth, business-to-business (B2B) user access / business-to-consumer (B2C) purchases, product catalogue, and live chat while the classic package costs RM2,880 and comes with a live streaming or pre-record video slot, video display, company name on the booth, B2B user access / B2C purchases, product catalogue, and live chat.
Building on the success of the virtual expo last year, PHI will launch International Inspirasi Khadijah Virtual 2021 again in November. Those interested can click on this link.