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Japanese SMEs keen to foray into global halal mart via KL [06-07-2012]  
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Small and medium Japanese companies, which have fought shy of Islamic markets in the past, are keen to make a foray into consumer products in global Islamic market via Kuala Lumpur.

With the purchasing power on the rise in Malaysia, the timing could not be better to introduce and market the latest Japanese lifestyle goods to Malaysia, says Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) managing director Joji Ikeshita.

The larger Japanese companies, especially those in the manufacturing sector, are familiar with the expertise in the Malaysian market, but SMEs are unfamiliar with the tastes and demands of Muslim customers.

"For most of them, it would be their first time abroad, testing the markets," he said at a media briefing yesterday.

A test shop called Good Goods Japan shop will be open at the centre court of Pavilion KL from July 23 to 29. The shop will display its products, including those for daily use.

It will be held in conjunction with Tokyo Street's first anniversary celebrations at Pavilion which include Tokyo Fashion Fiesta.

He said 40 Japanese companies will participate, offering more than 300 goods for sale, ranging from toothbrushes, yukata to cosmetics.

"They are looking for distributors to sell their products which are limited in volume."

Of the 40, 11 companies hail from the Tohoku and Ibaraki areas which have been hit and damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11 last year.

"Though the areas were heavily damaged by the natural disasters, they are making a strong recovery."

Ikeshita said in the past, Japanese businesses have been focused on the manufacturing sector and now they have turned more towards the services sector.

Jetro, a government-related organisation that helps investments and trade, finally decided to introduce these businesses to the Asean market after a successful stint in China recently.

"Malaysia is the first market in the region we are bringing them into, while Thailand will be the next one in October."

He said that it had been challenging to get the Japanese SMEs to head beyond the Japanese shores and had to be educated on various aspects, including pricing of products due to duties and access to markets.

Meanwhile, Jetro will organise one-to-one business meetings with Malaysian retailers and wholesalers in Prince Hotel on July 23 and 24.

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