Hong Kong using halal food to attract Muslim biz community

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Hong Kong is attracting more Muslim money and businessmen amid increasing economic ties between China and the Muslim business community.

The online version of Time magazine Wednesday said halal food, or food made in accordance with the Quran, is popular among Muslim businessmen in Hong Kong. The city and China have raised trade with Islamic countries like Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, so more restaurants in Hong Kong are selling halal food or dumplings without pork for Muslim businessmen. Pork is widely used in Chinese food but banned by Islamic law.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board says the number of tourists to the city is growing 20 percent annually. The number of halal-certified restaurants and markets jumped from just 14 in 2010 to three times that figure in a year, with the Tsim Sha Tsui district alone having 13 halal-certified restaurants.

Tourists from the Middle East, Pakistan and Indonesia usually buy wholesale mobile phones manufactured at mainland factories for resale at home.

The magazine said establishing Muslim-friendly services in Hong Kong could well be part of a multi-pronged attempt to establish a stronger business relationship between the resource-rich Muslim world and the greater China region, which is in dire need of fuel for its burgeoning economy.

“Mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the Muslim world is extremely important to China,“ said Ma Hongjian, president of the Beijing-based China-Arab Council for Investment Promotion.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., he said, trade partnerships between the two have skyrocketed because many Muslim entrepreneurs could not obtain visas to the West and instead started going to China in droves.

“There are so many examples of the Chinese government trying to provide facilities to our Muslim guests,” Ma added.

With soaring exchanges between China and the Islamic world, Hong Kong has positioned itself as a conduit for Muslim business with mainland China. In addition to offering more dining options to the Islamic community, the city is also developing a strong platform for Islamic finance.

“We hope to develop a wholesale Islamic capital market,” a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said.

Creating an Islamic capital market has been a major issue since Hong Kong`s first discussion on the matter at parliament in 2008, including Islamic bonds known in Arabic as “sukuk.”

Sukuk pays investors in assets to avoid the exchange of interest in accordance with Islamic law. Initiated by the Planning and Strategy Ministry, the Korean government since 2009 has attempted to revise its Special Tax Treatment Control Act, under which investment return of sukuk is not taxed because it is considered interest that attracts oil money from the Middle East.

Due to a backlash from Christians over sukuk, the revised bill failed to pass the National Assembly in February. Discussion has also not resumed on the matter in parliament

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About Uganda Muslim Brothers and Sisters

Uganda Muslim Brothers and Sisters (UMBS) was started as a discussion forum in 2010 by a Ugandan Muslim, Abbey Semuwemba, based in the United Kingdom. The main aim at the time was to encourage all Muslims to come together and discuss anything on their minds. It was started with only about 200 members but gradually, however, membership expanded to more than 6000 people in different countries, and so the need arose for formal operational guidelines. UMBS is building itself to become the national umbrella organisation dedicated to the common good, to the betterment of the Muslim community and country. It was formed after several years of wide-ranging consultation and careful planning by a group of Muslims that discussed Islamic affairs online regularly. It intends to bring together all representatives of different Muslim organisations in Uganda to meet up on annual basis to discuss the affairs of Muslims in Uganda. The need to coordinate efforts on wider issues of common concern became apparent in the course of the feud that developed between Muslim leaders after the sale of Muslim properties in Uganda. This created a climate of distrust and non-cooperation between many diverse groups in the country.

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  1. Pingback: Chinese Gold Imports From Hong Kong Rise Nearly 13 Fold – PBOC Likely Buying Dip Again - London Ontario Alternative News for Local Business, World News, Sports & Entertainment (FREE CLASSIFIEDS)

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