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ARFF Brief History 

Inaugurated in early 2008, Founding President Professor Dato’ Dr. Chin See Keat was appointed by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council at the 27th ASEAN BAC Meeting to lead the ASEAN RETAIL-CHAINS & FRANCHISE FEDERATION (ARFF) as its Chairman.

The federation was established to stimulate economic growth in the retail chain and franchise sectors while developing commercial opportunities throughout the entire ASEAN region and beyond. ARFF also serves as the bridge for international cross-learning between entrepreneurs and successful industrial players, given the multitude of members that have joined with a similar goal in mind.

With that, ARFF was formally launched on 24th May 2008 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), by the Honourable Minister of International Trade & Industries of Malaysia, YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (8th Prime Minister of Malaysia). Being designated under the tourism and retail services category, ARFF officially registered as the ASEAN Retail-Chains & Franchise Federation with the Malaysian Registrar of Societies in 2009.

Our Purpose

ASEAN Retail-Chains & Franchise Federation (ARFF) stays true to its mission in expanding the reach of retail chains, franchises, tourism players, and related shopping industries within the 10 ASEAN countries and beyond. It is ARFF’s aspiration to utilize the collective strength of all the countries in the ASEAN region to enable ASEAN to be the “cream of the crop” for business opportunities.

As such, ARFF aims:

  • to establish ASEAN as the leading international shopping destination

  • to position ASEAN retail and franchise brands on the map, allowing global recognition

  • to facilitate ASEAN retailers and franchisors in their expansion towards worldwide and across Asia

  • to enhance quality of life in the ASEAN region by expanding work and education opportunities

Note from President


Dato Sri' Mike Loh

Snips International Group

ASEAN Retail-Chains & Franchise Federation (ARFF) will always be the driving factor towards the growth of the franchise and retail business in Malaysia and the ASEAN region. Over the years, ARFF has seen tremendous success in its initiatives to empower its members to global reach, and the past presidents are very much to thank for that. Members comprising from various industries such as - food & beverage, operations & services, retailers, education & training services, leisure & lifestyle, theme park attractions, telecommunication services, fashion & beauty, wellness & spa, banking & legal services, and many more have benefitted from having their products and services exported to the world.

As the President of ARFF, I will continue to not only be the voice for all SMEs and entrepreneurs but also be the pillar that reinforces, connects, and expands the economy and businesses alike. Some 200 members in Malaysia have already tapped into global markets and exported to at least three countries in the ASEAN region; on top of that, multiple members have also expanded into China, India, and the Middle East.

I am extremely grateful for the support and cooperation that government agencies such as - MATRADE (Under Ministry of International Trade & Industry) and PERNAS (Under the Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs) has shown us support and assistance through grants & funds, international trade exhibitions, and training facilities. I am proud that we get to play a significant role in educating, training, and upskilling our members, as we received HRDF in 2015 from the Ministry of Human Resource to continue lifelong training for our members under the Minimum Wage training fund. In 2018, we were once again approved by HRDF to impart training in the Retail Management program leading to the Institute of Commercial Management, United Kingdom award.

Moving into the new norm of a tech-centered atmosphere, digitalization is inevitable; we are more than prepared to take our members forward to virtual systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), data technologies, cloud computing, e-commerce, and cognitive computing. I am certain that ARFF will make a great difference in the ecosystem and create new frontiers for the retail and franchise business not just in the ASEAN region but internationally, and I am proud to be a part of it.


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