Established in December 1945 in India, Wipro Group is a well-known company with assets valued at USD10 billion. It has diversified businesses in Information Technology (IT), Consumer, Engineering, and Healthcare. Today, Wipro Unza, part of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting Group, is one of the fastest
growing Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies and leading manufacturers of personal care products across Southeast Asia, China and other regions. The Company also supports a significant presence in various countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
Wipro Enterprises formed Wipro Unza as a result of the acquisition of a Malaysian company Unza Holdings in 2007. The Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Sriram Krishnamurthy, explained that when Wipro Enterprises first ventured outside of Bangalore, their first choice was Malaysia. Malaysia has become the biggest market after India and the springboard of innovation for the development of new products. In terms of revenue, Malaysia contributes about 35 per cent to Wipro Unza group and the remaining divided by the other countries around the region.
The halal cosmetics and personal care product industry has grown significantly over the past several years. According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the industry has emerged as the fastest-growing consumer segment in the country. Moreover, the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) has indicated that there are currently over 100 certified halal cosmetics and personal care companies in Malaysia.
Wipro Unza is particularly well known for its halal personal care brand ‘Safi’ whereby Malaysia is also one of the biggest markets for this brand. Other established brands include Romano, Enchanteur, Dashing, Carrie Junior, and Sumber Ayu. In an interview with The Edge Financial Daily, Sriram highlighted that “Since the inception, Safi has consistently been 100 per cent halal. It is even beyond what the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) would certify as halal. Some industries use alcohol formulas which are permissible to be classified as halal, but we go one step further by not including it at all in our formulas. This strategy has helped the company to grow and market its branding further in the halal segment. The positioning as “a local best” helped us to understand our customers and the market in depth. The Company believes that the halal market would deliver sustainable growth, leveraging also on the growing Muslim population in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East”.
“Safi was launched in Indonesia in the middle of last year and has been well received in their local market. So far, it’s getting a lot of attraction and good response. The prospects for growth in this segment are huge for Asia and the Middle East. We are optimistic that the Safi brand would grow faster there given their larger population sizes,” he said.
As at 2018, the global halal cosmetics and personal care market was valued at USD24 billion (RM99.12 billion) and expected to reach USD41.6 billion by the end of 2025, according to a report, “Global Halal Cosmetics and Personal Care Market Insights, Forecast To 2025” by market research firm QY Research. This point to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1% over the next six (6) years.
Wipro Unza (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, is hoping to replicate its popularity in surrounding markets given the success of its 12 halal-certified brands in Malaysia over the years. All of its 13 product categories have consistently maintained market leading positions in Malaysia over the past decade.
Alongside of the Head Office (HQ) located in Subang, the group also has a Research and Development (R&D) facility which has been deemed as the world’s largest “halal R&D for skincare”, occupied with over 100 scientists in the facility. The company started with an investment of RM10 million back in 2012, and continuously invested about the same amount every year.
Based on this success, the investment in the R&D innovation has enabled the company to develop an average of 70 new products annually, leading in halal personal care research as the market leader in the local facial skincare. The group has also set up R&D centers in their operations in several countries like India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Wipro sees Malaysia as an important regional hub to invest and establish the Wipro Skin Research and Innovation Centre. With the current global pandemic, the company anticipates smoother procedures for entry of foreign experts for new product development projects. Moving forward, Wipro Unza is targeting RM1 billion in revenue in the next five to six years from the current revenue contribution of RM600 million. The target would be mainly driven by healthy demand for halal personal care products globally.