DOHA: Lim Kon Lian is positively elated to go home practically “empty-handed” from the Arab Health 2006 expo that took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) commercial hub of Dubai this week.
“Response to our hospital beds was very good even though it is just our first time participating (in a trade exhibition in this region). I even sold my display models! No need to bring back anything ... only the brochures and posters!” he gushed in a telephone interview a day after the conclusion of the four-day expo, the biggest of its kind in the Arab region.
Lim said he had so far issued quotations worth US$1.3mil (RM4.8mil) for the four models of hospital beds his company, LKL Advance Metaltech, manufactures in its factory in Seri Kembangan.
“A lot more to follow up on once we get back home. We had queries from the health ministries and private hospitals in countries as far away as Yemen, Libya, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) countries.
“In 2005 and 2004, we exhibited in Dusseldorf. The interest and potential business we found here far exceeded the response we had there. Looks like the Arabs really like Malaysian-made products,” Lim said.
A family business established in 1978, LKL Advance Metaltech currently exports hospital beds to 14 countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
In 2004, the company recorded sales of RM30mil.
“We are very much hopeful of expanding our market in the Arab region,” Lim said.
Another long-established, privately-owned Malaysian company venturing into the Arab region for the first time is Len Fa Medical Supplies Sdn Bhd, a manufacturer of traditional Chinese health supplements based in Sungai Buloh, Selangor.
“We fielded lots of queries especially for our sea cucumber-based cough syrup, honey and Tongkat Ali-enhanced products,” said Jocelyn Ng, executive director of the nearly four decades-old company.
“Visitors to our booth were especially curious about our state-of-the-art extraction of sea cucumber essence, which cures asthma, and also our essence of ostrich, which promotes immunity and boosts energy when combined with Tongkat Ali.
“We are now sifting through the various contacts we made to decide on a regional distributor in Dubai,” she said.
Stressing on the halal certification of Len Fa’s products, Ng said the company was optimistic of a potentially huge order from the Saudi Ministry of Health to add to its current exports to Singapore, Hong Kong and China.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Biodiagnostics Research Sdn Bhd was looking forward to orders for its rapid test kits for detecting typhoid, HIV, drug abuse or pregnancy.
“Our main purpose was merely to introduce our products, in particular our groundbreaking typhoid and drug abuse rapid test kits,” its director of sales and marketing Ambok Chening Meri said.
“We are very happy with the response we received. Strongest indications came from Yemen, Syria and Libya,” he said, adding that half his company’s sales came from exports to Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan and India.
Altogether, 15 Malaysian companies took part in the trade exhibition under the umbrella of the Malaysian pavilion, which was put together by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation's (Matrade) Dubai office.
Products exhibited included medical disposable products, laboratory and scientific equipment, hospital furniture, medicines, hospital services and health tourism packages.
“Confirmed orders received amounted to RM969,000 and potential sales was recorded at RM12.04mil,” said Matrade Dubai.
Some 20,000 trade visitors attended the exhibition and conference, which saw the participation of 2,000 companies from more than 50 countries.
Although a final tally of the value of deals signed during the four-day exhibition is not yet available, estimates suggest the number will be substantially higher than the US$40mil worth of deals generated last year.
According to industry estimates, the healthcare market in the Arab region is around US$74bil. – Bernama