Hala General Trading has its roots in Osaka, Japan, where its parent company Shabi Boeki Shokai was established in 1965. In order to benefit from the strategic location of Dubai, as well as better
serve its long-standing client base in Africa, Hala was established in 1996, along with trading offices in Guinea and Nigeria. In the last two decades, the company has grown into a successful
Dubai-based conglomerate with offices in nine countries in Asia and Africa.
Over the past 15 years, the company has actively pursued a diversification strategy away from general trade. As such, Hala has aggressively invested in consumer-driven industries such as multi-brand retail, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to capitalize on augmented global demand for commodities, Hala invested in a copper blister manufacturing facility in 2004. Between 1997 and 2013, Hala opened additional offices and companies in Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, and India. In the same period, group revenues grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 17%. Our subsidiaries now employ over 500 people across Asia and Africa.
Arun Datwani is the founder and managing director of Hala General Trading. He began his career in 1977 at Shabi Boeki Shokai, the trading firm established by his father in Osaka, Japan,
which was primarily engaged in exporting vehicles, auto parts, machinery and sundries to Latin America and West Africa. Having experienced first-hand Japan’s economic miracle of the 1970s
and 1980s, Mr. Datwani saw the potential for rapid growth in Dubai, and set up Hala General Trading in 1996 to take advantage of the emirate's strategic location at the crossroads of Europe,
Asia and Africa.
With nearly three decades of experience trading and investing in sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Datwani has incomparable understanding of the realities of doing business on the continent. He is a keen investor, with his finger on the pulse of the global markets and an eye for early stage opportunities. Mr. Datwani’s leadership and vision have, over the last 15 years, transformed Hala from a traditional trading business into a conglomerate. Under his leadership the company has seen unprecedented growth, by diversifying its investments into the pharmaceutical, multi-brand retail and manufacturing industries. With an appetite for further expansion, Mr. Datwani has brought on board both his son and daughter to manage its operations.
We sell a range of products in each of our markets, including but not limited to new and second-hand vehicles, auto parts and lubricants, electronics and home appliances, as well as packaged foods. In addition to representing world-renowned brands we have also established proprietary brands in each of our markets.
We own and operate one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest and most reputed hypermarket chains, Jambo Mart, located in the heart of the country’s mining belt. We were the first to bring the hypermarket concept to the country, capitalizing on the expertise of a team with over 50 years of combined experience in the DRC. Since consolidating our foothold in retail, we have made inroads in other areas, with new projects in agriculture and real estate development in the pipeline.
Since the establishment of Arman Healthcare, we have become pioneers establishment in the field of medical tourism from the DRC to India. Furthermore, we are currently in the process of establishing a state-of-the-art diagnostics center in Kinshasa.
We manufacture, import and distribute a wide range of specialized pharmaceuticals and medical equipment in the DRC and Kenya, under our proprietary brand, Dr. Pharma.
We manufacture copper blisters at a smelting facility in Katanga, DRC.
At Hala, we are strong believers in the African growth story and thus, we have made significant investments into the continent. Africa’s economic fundamentals remain encouraging: unprecedented economic growth, a young, burgeoning middle class, rapid urbanization, improved governance, and heightened stability. These strong economic and political drivers have produced an environment ripe for investment. Hala has long been a champion of the continent and its untapped potential. We have made a long-term commitment Africa, through sustainable investments that play a role in the development of the economies of each of the countries in which we are active.
We pride ourselves on tapping into local expertise in each of the markets in which we operate. When making investments, Hala frequently looks to partner with local practitioners to manage new ventures. Our 500-strong team now boasts incomparable African experience, whether it is in sourcing the right products for each of our markets or navigating often complicated political and regulatory environments. We have our ear to the ground in each of the countries in which we operate, and pride ourselves on the depth and breadth of our understanding of the continent.
Hala focuses on making investments in under-penetrated growth markets usually as a first or early entrant. Our key strength is our ability to identify niche business opportunities in pre-emerging markets and confidently deploy a team to execute our vision. Hala endeavors to shift the needle in each of its markets, while simultaneously focusing on value creation with a long-term economic and social upside in each of its markets.