The Malaysian food-processing sector has a broader base than many of the other Southeast Asian countries. Most of the major food processing companies are also involved in exporting their products to overseas markets. The diversity found today comes among other things from the wide range of high quality imported food; this has been possible because of the relatively low import duties on most of these products. The open trading environment has also stimulated the extensive use of imported ingredients by its local processing industry.

One thing which needs to be given a thought to by manufacturers in Malaysia is its requirement for a Halal certification. This is of paramount importance to any company seeking to develop a long term and substantial business as a supplier to local food manufactures or us who are going export the products to Malaysia. Malaysia aims to be the international centre for Halal food production. Malaysia's focus on Halal products is highly respected and recognized by most Islamic nations. This allows Malaysian based companies to penetrate these markets with ease with their Halal certified food products.

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This has created the opportunity for the food industry to produce Halal certified foods targeted at the Muslim markets worldwide. Today Malaysia has one of the widest ranges of processed Halal foods in the world. It is the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM) that issues the Halal certification to the manufactures after satisfactory inspection of the manufacturing facilities, which confirm to slaughtering and preparation of meat and meat products according to the Islamic way.

The government is campaigning to get the consumers to "Buy Malaysian" products, which has encouraged the retail sector to carry more Malaysian produced food products. This has stimulated confidence in the industry, resulting in increased investments in R&D activities, an increased number of new product introductions, expansion of the domestic market into retail, and entry into new overseas markets. Government policies One of the government's political priority areas is to increase the local food production.

The objective is for Malaysia to be a net exporter of food products by 2010. A more concrete objective is to increase the yearly export of agricultural and food products to a total value of USD 4. 5bn by 2010. Today the yearly value is USD 1. 8 bn. For the period 2001-2005 the government has allocated USD 2. 1bn to kick-start agricultural development. Focus areas are development of large-scale farming, intensifying land use, improving agronomic practices as well as using modern technologies and management in the downstream processes.

Incentives for local and foreign investments in the agricultural sector are given. Since we are a startup company we will lie in the infancy stage and gradually move towards the of the growth stage. Our plan is to move towards the growth stage in about 18 months of our operations. Market Profitability Buyer Power Initially there will be a bit of pressure from buyers because they are going to try the Lester's chocolate for the first time.

We are going to keep fair budget for advertising and sales promotion and initially price all the range of chocolate at an introductory price. Supplier Power Initially the distributors and retailer will also have a bit of pressure to introduce this product but to counter this effect the product has to be good with an outstanding quality. The strategy will be to first advertise heavily on media and then let the consumer demand our product.