NO BARRIERS: Matrade says region can benefit from collective power of branding
SOUTHEAST Asian countries, with its 600 million people, can conquer the global market if they were to pool all their brands under one Asean umbrella.
At the Brands Entrepreneurs Conference 2013 yesterday, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) senior director of exporters development division Datuk Dzulkifli Mahmud said he believes in the collective power of branding across all the countries in the region.
"I believe that we can conquer the world market because we are 10 countries and 600 million people, and we have many free trade agreements that give us a market outreach to more than one billion consumers," he said.
The one-day conference, which saw the participation of 750 delegates from Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Kenya and China, among others, was launched by Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri.
Speakers at the conference included Eversendai Corp Bhd group managing director Tan Sri A.K. Nathan, Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance president Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas, Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute chief executive officer Tan Sri Michael Yeoh, Securiforce Group of Companies executive chairman Datuk Maznah Hamid and Malayan Banking Bhd chief marketing officer Mohamed Adam Wee.
Matrade and Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM) hope to see a linkage of branding associations across all 10 Asean countries in preparation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
"Asean is going to be one body and there will be no trade barriers once AEC takes shape in 2015. Therefore, it is important for Asean members to join hands in collaboration so that we can compete with other players across the globe," said BAM president Datuk Eric Chong.
"I suggested the setting up of the Branding Association of Thailand with the support of BAM during the Thailand-Malaysia Business Council last week.
"The idea is crystallising... now we just need to move forward with the help of the Malaysia Business Council," he said.
Meanwhile, Thailand ambassador to Malaysia Krit Kraichitti has proposed the setting-up of the Thailand-Malaysia branding council.
He said Thailand has a long flourishing trade relationship with Malaysia and the Thailand-Malaysia trade volume is the second highest in Asean.
"We are not only neighbouring countries but we are also part of Asean and also soon to be under AEC. Branding is one of the top priorities that will bring the products of Malaysia and Thailand to the world... this is the idea behind the setting up of the Thailand-Malaysia branding council," he said.
Dzulkifli urged Malaysian companies to take the opportunity to network with the foreign delegates for their business expansion.
"We have 15 foreign representatives at this conference, ranging from ambassadors to trade office emissaries, and it is Matrade's hope that these representatives can see the strength of Malaysian products.
"This conference is a good platform for local entrepreneurs and business owners to mingle and perhaps collaborate with these foreign representatives. They can network and leverage on the facilities provided by Matrade to enlarge their businesses and consumer reach," he said.