News From : DagangHalal.com (31 Dec 2009)
WHEN venturing into the overseas market, Bruneian businesses should make sure their products are uniquely Bruneian, said a top executive at Lo International Sdn Bhd.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, Hafimi Abd Haadii @ Frances M C Lo, managing director of Lo International Sdn Bhd and Brunei Coordinator for Asean China Youth Entrepreneurs Association, said Bruneian businesses, in particular those in cottage industries, should make products that are uniquely Bruneian and then figure out ways to use them in different applications.
Using the example of Brunei-made kain tenunan (brocade), she said that there could be further opportunities by making the product as uniquely Brunei in order to be sold or recreated abroad.
“We have a certain way we do things. Obviously a lot of that is handed down. It’s traditional in the sense that it reflects the kind of handicraft that we do,” she said of the unique traditional cloth and gold-threaded weaves that are hand-made in Brunei.
While there are initiatives to use the unique fabric and produce them for downstream products, such as handbags, purses and souvenirs, Hafimi addresses the question on how it can be taken further.
She proposed taking the raw material or finished product to potential clients or customers abroad.
“Maybe we can have it sent to a designer overseas or someone who carries a couture line,” she said, then show them that the fabric is solely made in Brunei.
The challenge lies in getting the product recognised, she said.
Hafimi said that in order to do so “there has to be a recognition concept or patenting process” which can identify that a “particular design did originate from this particular family or this particular village”.
One possible way is by getting the backing of government institutions such as the “Arts and Handicraft (Training Centre) who can issue a letter saying this is an authentic product produced by a local Bruneian”.
The item can then be sold or used in the recreation of another product, she added.
Hafimi points to the Brunei Halal Brand as another initiative that is already making headway.
“When we have that product, we need to allow that product to be recognised. Brunei Halal Brand is doing that and in itself can do very well,” she said.
“We had trouble finding halal products in China,” she said, speaking of her recent visit there.
“There is a huge market for this, but how it translates it really is up to the entrepreneur.”
“I know a few companies that are trying their best to go overseas because they’ve either reached a saturation point of marketing goods or they want to grow and they don’t know how,” she said.
She said the government has been very helpful, assisting businesses find opportunities, however, ultimately “it is up to us as entrepreneurs to take that and move with it,” she said.
The Brunei Times