Retail and franchise exhibition returns

(From left) Woo with Bon Zainal, Chua and MIRF adviser Datuk Liew Bin showing their appreciation for sponsors and supporting partners of the Malaysia International Retail and Franchise Exhibition 2020. — NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star

THE fifth edition of the annual Malaysia International Retail and Franchise Exhibition (MIRF) will be held from July 16 to 18 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) organising chairman Raymond Woo told a press conference that this year’s MIRF is designed to cater to market demand.

“Last year’s MIRF saw the exhibition in halls 3 to 5; this year we are taking up halls 1 to 4 in the convention centre.

“We will also have premier booths at the entrance for exhibitors as well as premier sponsors and supporters, including the Hatchery which will have 100 booths reserved for start-ups, ” he said. Also present at the press conference at Quill Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, were representatives of bronze sponsor TM One as well as supporting partner Malaysia Bumiputra Designers Association president Bon Zainal.

MIRF 2020 would also feature add-ons for exhibitors such as corporate suites designed to afford more privacy and space for discussions or special meetings, said Woo.

Among the brands that have signed up for the exhibition are Ayamas, O’Brien’s, Lavender, Hermu International, Gong Cha, Kong Fo Cha and JVV F&B with support from Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation.

Woo lauded the “positive participation from new brands, especially new food and beverage concepts”.

He detailed how the foyer and mezzanine levels would feature lounges which are to be used for purposes such as business matching, while concluding, “this year will be a bigger, better and brighter platform for business networking”.

MRCA president Datuk Garry Chua in his address said the exhibition, which began in 2016 at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre with just 200 booths, had grown to include 380 booths and 100 kiosks.

He pointed out that MIRF was acknowledged in the Malaysia Book of Records as the largest retail and franchise exhibition.

“This year we have participants from Turkey, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, among many other countries, ” he said, adding this showed MIRF’s regional and international appeal.

He also echoed Woo’s encouragement for start-ups to participate in the exhibition, especially those providing services, have a successful online business or good product but who may not have the right channel, distribution network or strong retail presence.

Chua said he was optimistic that MIRF would grow by as much as 20% by 2021, despite challenging times for the Malaysian and regional market due to factors such as the coronavirus outbreak.

“We want business owners to use this platform to explore not only franchising but also partnerships, licensing and joint ventures, ” he said, adding that the ultimate aim was to drive forward and develop the retail sector.

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