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Tho Xin Yi
Sunday, Nov 2, 2014

Malaysia

Malaysia's durian coffee charms China visitors

The Star/ANN | Tho Xin Yi | Sunday, Nov 2, 2014

DONGGUAN - The aroma of durian coffee from Malaysia charmed the visitors at the inaugural Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo here.

Nature Goodness Food Industry Sdn Bhd, which took part in the expo, said the durian coffee was a bestseller among its products, including frozen durian and fruit juices.

"The Chinese consumers find the coffee, flavoured with durian extract, very unique," said company director Fred Lim.

The Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo is being held for the first time following Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road last year.

It is organised by the Guangdong Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Malaysia has the largest participation at the expo with about 500 booths offering food and beverage, household appliances, tourism products and others.

Allspire Photography, which promoted its wedding photography services, also highlighted Penang as a tourist destination.

Co-founder John Lee said the Peranakan culture and the geographical features in Penang would appeal to the Chinese.

"I've already received a few enquiries from travel agencies to include our service into their travel packages," he said.

The Malay Businessmen and Industrialists Association of Malaysia also took part to seek an avenue for Malay entrepreneurs to explore the huge market in China.

The association took up about 70 booths at the expo.

Zuraini Che Muhammad, who was one of the exhibitors, said she was excited to have the chance to showcase her line of Malay traditional attire.

"This is our opportunity to venture into the international market. We're trying to gauge the consumers' preference through this expo," she said.

Tourism Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, who spoke at a forum held in conjunction with the expo, said Asian countries could ride the wave of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to develop cruise tourism.

She said the Maritime Silk Road was linking up ports in Asia and could be developed into a multiple-destination cruise route.

"Cruise tourism will boost the economy and provide thousands of job opportunities," she said.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association, Asians only took up 4.4 per cent of the global cruise ship deployment in 2013 but it predicted that Asia would see a 31.6 per cent increase this year.

Dr Ng said the Maritime Silk Road cruise package could showcase the diverse culture of Asia and its various Unesco World Heritage sites.

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