Chinese Muslims and the Global Islamic Market

The Christian Science Monitor has an article on the integration of the Chinese Muslim community with the rest of the Islam world in terms of economics. Here are a few relevant excerpts from the article.

Mr. Yussuf, a Malaysian businessman, makes a tidy profit importing halal foods from this remote corner of northwestern China. He’s the type of foreign trader this Muslim region hopes to attract more of, in its bid to grab a slice of the multibillion dollar global Islamic food business.

“One-third of our population is Hui,” says Ma Yingqiu, this city’s deputy mayor, referring to the Muslim ethnic minority who live in the Autonomous Region of Ningxia. “They have the same habits as people in Islamic countries. They are this region’s competitive advantage.”

As the local government strives to forge new economic ties with Middle Eastern and other Muslim nations, citizens of this impoverished part of China bordering the Gobi Desert are rediscovering Islam. Emerging from centuries of religious isolation, Ningxia Muslims are developing “an international sense of community,” says Ma Ping, head of the Institute of the Hui and Islam here.

While that might once have unnerved the Chinese government, always uneasy about divided loyalties, Ningxia’s desperate economic straits – it is the country’s third poorest province – have prompted a rethink, says Professor Ma.

“Stability used to be the top priority here, but now it is development,” he says. “What the government wants most is money.”

It was in search of money that the Ningxia government last week held the third annual International Halal Food and Muslim Commodities Trade Fair, which closed here over the weekend. “This fair is Ningxia’s chance to march into the world,” provincial governor Wang Zhengwei proclaimed at the opening ceremony.


Ningxia’s halal food industry is worth nearly $700 million a year, according to government statistics, but less than 3 percent of its output is sold abroad, Ma Yingqiu points out. “We are still at the beginning of this and we have to work on it,” the deputy mayor acknowledges. “But since we are starting from such a small base, it should be easy to grow fast.”

12 responses to “Chinese Muslims and the Global Islamic Market

  1. Good to hear from professor Ma Ping again. I met him back in 2006 in Yinchuan.
    The Chinese Muslims are making an impact with their products in the entire Muslim world. I remember trying to buy some local devotional articles in Tunisia to take to China as gifts for my Chinese Muslim friends – unsuccessfully. Everything was ‘made in China’. A Sino-Muslim version of the rise of China on the world markets.

  2. Dear Muslim Brothers


    From Past few year, iam doing business with Chinese companies, and importing machinery from Shenzhen, many times i visited cities like Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guagzhou, & Yancheng,
    Apart from business, allways i wish to know about economic status of Muslims in china, but i could not get a chance to meet and interact with Chinese muslims, and it is my longterm wish to do business with Chinese muslim community,
    i pray god to give me chance to do business with chinese muslim community, and help chinese muslims to improve ecnomically,



  3. Salam,

    i’m looking for info on qinghai especially on muslim business community. i’ll be participating in qinghai international halal food & products fair next month to promote my wife’s products, therefore wud appreciate if anyone cud share info before we arrive in qinghai.

    thx & best regards,

    Munir Kasman
    for Intan’s Oven

  4. Aslaam O’Alikum!

    This is a nice site.

    I am curious about the interatction of the once isolated Muslim community with the rest of the Muslim word. I would like to know what’s the preceived Muslim Identity from both side. Will the larger Muslim community consider the Chinese Muslim as less Islamic and will the Chinese Muslim see themselves as so? Will they see each other as equal in terms of give and take, not only commercially but also culturally. I guess I am bit of worry from my experience in the US (The immigrants Muslims from South Asia and Middle East country tend to look down on the Islamic credential of the native black Muslims without realizing the tremedous contribution of the black Muslims to this dean via their long struggle for civil right in this country). The Chinese Muslims have such a long and unique history and experience and has contributed to the Islamic word greatly. I hope during the exchange, this fact is recorganized from both side. If the Chinese Muslim gradually loss their Chinese character in every aspect pertinent to their Muslim Identity, it will be a great lose to both the Muslim word and China. I think one of the biggest strength of Islam is that it can adapt to diverse culture but still maintain a core Islamic identity. However, the petrol dollar propelled Arabnization of the Islamic word is very alarming and depressing. I hope the beautiful Chinese Muslim culture not fall victim to such ‘globalnization’.

  5. Assalamualaikum,

    In response to Pan: *Hope you don’t mind me calling you that*

    From my respective opinion, how do you determine whether the latter is less or more Islamic that the larger Muslim community?

    For a seemingly complex query, I reckon that the degree of acceptance varies for each individual, instead of narrowing it down to a particular ethnic group. Certainly, racial discrimination occurs just about anywhere albeit not necessarily restricted to Muslims of various nations. As to whether the Chinese Muslims will lose out in maintaining their Chinese character with respect to their Muslim identity, I believe that it has yet to happen. Again, it comes down to the individual.

    With the sudden disclosure of China produced food products, may it doesn’t affect their halal food industry.

  6. Assalamualaikum,

    I have a Non Muslim Chinese neighbour who sell many products imported from China. And the irony of it, 98% of his customers are all Muslims.

    I sure would love to see what marketable items I can get from the community here, specifically for the use of us Muslims (besides food), that I can promote in my shop or market it to other outlets? eg. cotton products, handbags, schoolbags etc



  7. Assalamualaikum, I own a trading business (Armada Sinar Trading), major in packaging and distributing, our latest product is Korea Foot Detox (imported from china) and we’re planning to buy more products from China such as women sanitary products, baby diapers, school bags etc. do you have industries own by a chinese muslim ?

  8. salam
    i am a indian muslim from west bengal, i am trying to make a business in china, we are selling very good quality dry fish scale add searching a good reliable long term basis buyer for our products. if any muslim brother help me to to do business in china, allah taala bless him. inshallah.

  9. Dear Muslim Brothers

    Assalam o Aalikum,

    From Past few year, iam doing business with Chinese companies, and importing Fruits and machinery from China, many times i visited cities like Nanging, Dongguan, & Guagzhou,
    Apart from business, allways i wish to know about economic status of Muslims in china, but i could not get a chance to meet and interact with Chinese Muslims, and it is my long term wish to do business with Chinese Muslim community,
    I also pray to Allah, to give me chance to do business with Great Chinese people and Chinese Muslim community, and help Chinese Muslims to improve economically,


    Mizanur Rahman
    Skype : mizanur.rahman805



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