North-west China’s Ningxia region, home to about two million Chinese Muslims, is planning to be a global halal food centre, including upgrading a halal industrial park and perfecting domestic halal standards.
Officials and businessmen of Ningxia spoke about their vision just before the first China-Arab States Expo opened on Sunday in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia.
Ningxia’s halal park, which integrates research, design, manufacturing, processing and trade for halal foods, is located in Wuzhong city.
The 63 sq km park has more than 40 enterprises to date with annual production worth 3.6 billion yuan (S$747 million), said Wuzhong’s government.
Mr Zhao Yongqing, party chief of the city, told the Global Times that the park has the conditions to attract halal food enterprises from home and abroad, and would help to promote China’s halal food industry.
By the end of last year, Yinchuan itself had more than 4,800 halal food enterprises.
According to Mr Moustapha Saphariny, former Palestinian ambassador to China, Ningxia enjoys an advantage over other regions in the country: It operates a halal authentication centre, set up in 2008. To tap the international halal food market, Ningxia is further perfecting the authentication system.
With its unique edge, Mr Saphariny said, Ningxia, with Wuzhong, in particular, has the potential to become the “world’s factory” for halal food.
There are about 22 million Muslims in China.