CIMB Islamic aims to help local halal players scale globally

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 25): CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd wants to reach out to more home-grown businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the halal industry to help them scale globally.

CIMB Group Islamic banking chief executive officer Rafe Haneef said while there are plenty of opportunities for growth, the challenge for home-grown businesses and SMEs today is how to scale up.

"There is where CIMB Islamic's expertise, the CIMB-ASEAN Halal Corridor and CIMB's regional network provide a strong value proposition to our customers," he said during a signing ceremony for a partnership with a local brand.

The bank today announced that it has partnered with local cosmetic company SimplySiti Sdn Bhd to expand its halal beauty care business beyond Malaysia.

Rafe said brands such as SimplySiti will receive end-to-end support from the bank in five main areas of support such as market access, supply chain, certification, logistics and financing.

Rafe added this is the first partnership for the year and CIMB Islamic intends to help scale more companies in the near future.

"We have dozens of companies looking to go beyond Malaysia. And for them to be successful outside of Malaysia, they have to first be successful in the home country. So we are helping them to be stronger," he said.

He said other sectors that CIMB Islamic are looking to support besides the cosmetics and beauty industry are fashion, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and agriculture.

Introduced last year, the CIMB-ASEAN Halal Corridor is an enhanced trade network linking halal businesses with trade infrastructure and ecosystems across the region to take advantage of increasing demand for halal products in the region and beyond.

Malaysia's export of halal products is currently more than RM45 billion as at 2018.