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About Malaysia

Malaysia, home to a population of over 30 million, is one of the more developed economies in South East Asia. The economy, which is valued at US$ 302.7 billion, is well-diversified in terms of sources of growth and revenue owing to the economic, financial and fiscal reforms undertaken thus far by the government. The economy is expected to grow between 4.3 and 4.8% in 2017.

Business and consumer confidence has been boosted by the country’s strong economic performance, relatively low unemployment rates and the government’s commitment and initiatives to transform the economy. The country offers a competitive business environment, backed by its open investment policies and well-developed financial market.

Population: 30.95 million
Inflation Rate: 2%
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Ave Exchange Rate: MYR 4.079: US$ 1
Imports: US$ 139.5 billion
Exports: US$ 167.3 billion
GDP: US$ 302.7 billion
GDP per capita (PPP) US$ 27,200
Real GDP Growth 4.2%
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This report is designed to provide an overview of the medical technologies sector in Malaysia. The healthcare sector has been designated as one of the key economic drivers in the country, that is expected to play a big role in helping Malaysia transform itself into a high-income country by 202...

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This report is designed to provide an overview of the smart cities sector in Malaysia.  By developing smart cities, Malaysia aims to be globally competitive not only from an economic standpoint, but also from environmental and social perspective standpoint. Among Malaysia’s key citi...

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Malaysia suffers from a fast-depleting water supply, with the World Resources Institute estimating that annual renewable water supply might fall to 10,000 m3/person/year by 2025. The wastewater and sewerage system is largely underdeveloped, due to concerns over costly operation...

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Malaysia Country Profile

The report offers a wide range of data and information collected from various sources that were built together in order to provide not just facts but deeper insights about the country. Unlike other country reports that focus more on macro-economic data, we think that the most valuable part of ...

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Cautious Economic Growth Anticipated For Malaysia In 2019

Malaysia  -  January 2019

Malaysia is expected to experience slower growth in 2019, in anticipation of global trade uncertainties which would affect the trade flows to the region. While the government is more optimistic with 4.9% of GDP forecasted, consensus GDP growth forecast from Bloomberg data is milder at 4.6%. The World Bank on the other hand predicted that Malaysia’s real GDP will be 4.6% going into 2020, from 5.9% in 2017 and 4.7% in 2018 as well as in 2019.

Economists cited several downside risks pertinent to the cautious GDP estimates, including policy uncertainties, geopolitical tensions, volatile commodity prices, ongoing trade pressures and monetary policy normalization in the US. Nevertheless several measures announced in Budget 2019 are expected to sustain domestic demand, which in turn will remain supportive of the economy despite the expected slower export growth. The measures include increase in minimum wage, continuation of cash assistance and several instruments planned to ease the public’s burden from rising costs of living, which should encourage consumer spending. Households are expected to remain financially strong amid steady household earnings, positive employment outlook and steady commodity prices, on top of accommodative financing conditions and strong financial buffers to service debt commitments.

In addition to domestic demand, private investment is also expected to support the growth. Private businesses will benefit from the government’s decision to repay MYR 37 billion (USD 9 billion) of tax refunds and continuation of several infrastructure projects from the previous administration, which could lead to new investment and expansion activities by private sector.  

(Sources: The Edge Markets; The Malaysian Reserve; The World Bank)

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Crypto currency bitcoin


Malaysia to Regulate ICOs, Cryptocurrency Trade

Malaysia  -  February 2019

Malaysia is set to regulate crypto transactions such as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and other cryptocurrency trades. The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) amended its Guidelines on Recognized Markets on 31 January, 2019 to introduce new requirements for electronic platforms that facilitate the trading of digital assets. Under the revised guidelines, any person who is interested in operating a digital asset platform is required to apply to the SC to be registered as a recognized market operator. Those involved in illegal ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges could face hefty jail time and fines by the SC. The amended guidelines follow the coming into force of the Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019on 15 January 2019. 

Local blockchain industry players such as Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Fintech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) have reacted positively towards the new rulings by the SC.  However, they feel that the framework can be more forward-looking to include appropriate control measures on blockchain transactions.

The revised guidelines categorise crypto exchanges as Digital Asset Exchange Operators. The summary of requirements to operate a digital asset platform, including those operating within the current transitional period, are as follows:

  1. Offerors must put up a MYR 5 million (USD 1.2 million) minimum paid capital upon approval and prior to commencement of crypto exchanges.  This minimum paid capital is subject to additional financial requirements on a case by case basis based on the operations and risks to investors posed by the exchange.

  2. There is restriction on providing financial assistance to investors/customers for the purposes of purchasing cryptocurrencies/digital assets

  3. A robust risk management system needs to be put in place to ensure a high degree of security and reliability.

  4. Cryptocurrencies and digital assets have to be approved by SC prior to listing on the stock exchange

  5. There has to be clear rules and procedures in place for the trading, clearing and settlement of digital assets

  6. Players must provide clear, concise and fair disclosures that are not misleading to investors

  7. Trade of digital assets can only be carried out using Ringgit Malaysia and other legal tenders.

  8. Offerors must establish one or more trust account in a licensed financial institution in Malaysia.

Under the revised guidelines, any person who is interested in operating a digital asset platform is required to apply to the SC to be registered as a recognized market operator by 1 March 2019. The full details of the guidelines are available at https://www.sc.com.my/regulation/guidelines/recognizedmarkets.

Meanwhile, the guidelines for ICOs are expected to be released by end of March 2019.

(Sources: Business Insider – Malaysia;The FinTech News; NewsBTC; Securities Commission Malaysia)

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Power transmission electricity energy


Sarawak Energy, Shell MDS To Explore Hydrogen Production In Sarawak

Malaysia  -  January 2019

The Sarawak state-owned energy company, Sarawak Energy Bhd (Sarawak Energy) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shell MDS (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Shell MDS) to explore opportunities in lower-cost hydrogen production technology via electrolysis. The MoU includes a joint study by the two parties and knowledge exchange on hydrogen production technology, promoting education and drawing up best practices in the area. It also includes exploring opportunities for green certification in hydrogen production.

This MoU is a follow-up to the pilot hydrogen production plant and refuelling station project by Sarawak Energy which is scheduled to be ready in time for a test run of three hydrogen-powered buses by the first quarter of 2019. 

The pilot facility, the first such plant in South East Asia, lays the foundation for research on the commercial viability of a hydrogen economy for Sarawak through the production, delivery, storage and utilisation of this ‘fuel of the future’.

Sarawak’s renewable hydropower stands at 75% of the state’s power generation mix currently. Promoting renewable hydropower is in line with the state’s aspiration to use less carbon-based energy, given that producing hydrogen from the grid will be less fossil-fuel intensive.

(Sources: The New Straits Times; The Borneo Post; Sarawak Energy)

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Medical devices   surgical instruments


Healthy Growth Projected For Medical Device Export In 2019

Malaysia  -  January 2019

Exports of medical devices from Malaysia is expected to cross MYR 23 billion (USD 5.6 billion) in 2019, with the Association of Malaysian Medical Industries (AMMI) projecting exports to achieve 8% year-on-year growth. In 2017 AMMI members recorded a combined export sales of MYR 11.4 billion (USD 2.8 billion) compared to MYR 9.7 billion (USD 2.4 billion) in 2016. This brings the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the export sales to a healthy 16.3% between 2013 and 2017, beating most global indices in the sector. A strong national medical devices manufacturers association, AMMI members contributed to 58% of the country’s total exports of all Made in Malaysia medical devices including medical glove.

In a recent survey involving 46 AMMI members, 74% of them said they are planning to expand their operation in terms of buildings, machinery, equipment, facilities and product lines. The projected value of the probable future expansion plans when combined was about MYR 1.5 billion (USD 360 million). As of December 2017, the total value of cumulative investments reported by the members responded to the survey mounted to MYR 7 billion (USD 1.7 billion), up from MYR 3.4 billion (USD 830 million) in 2013. Collective yearly investments also soared to MYR 967.9 million (USD 235.5 million) in 2017 from MYR 215.2 million (USD 52.36 million) in 2013. The findings of the survey are recorded in AMMI’s Medical Device Industry Status and Outlook Report 2018/2019.

According to the survey the on-going trade war between the United States and China is not expected to worsen the market for Malaysian exports of medical devices. On the contrary, the situation is expected to benefit local manufacturers. Around 50% of AMMI members were hopeful of achieving double-digit growth in 2019. Malaysia is predicted to keep growing as a hub for medical device manufacturing in the region with the presence of over 200 medical device manufacturing companies in the country flourishing within a supportive ecosystem in the industry.

(Sources: The Star; Malaysian Investment Development Authority)

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Plastic waste


DoE Malaysia To Shut Down Illegal Plastic Waste Recycling Plants

Malaysia  -  February 2019

The Malaysian Department of Environment (DoE), under the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC), has set a target to close down 100 illegal plastic recycling factories by end of March 2019.

MESTECC has identified a total of 97 illegal plastic waste recycling plants so far and it hopes to shut down these factories within the first quarter of 2019. Selangor is a hotspot for these factories with 61 factories identified in the state. MESTECC has also identified six factories in Johor, 10 each in Kedah and Negeri Sembilan, seven in Perak, two in Penang and one in Kelantan. The government will cut off their electricity supply and try ro ensure that they are not able to shift their operations to another location. 

Along with shutting down illegal establishments, the government is also conducting checks on legal factories to ensure they comply with the Environmental Quality Act 1974. Out of the 48 legal plastic recycling factories in Selangor, 20 which were found to be polluting the environment have been shut down.

When China banned plastic waste imports in 2018, the volume of plastic waste moving to Malaysia exploded, before a temporary restriction imposed in July 2018. More than 450,000 tons of plastic scrap was imported into the country between January and July 2018, 40% higher than imports for the entire year of 2017 and many illegal recycling plants sprung up around the country.  In reaction to reports of pollution in Kuala Langat, Selangor , the government revoked approved permits (AP) to import used plastic. 

(Sources : The Star; Malaysia Kini; The Malaysian Insight)


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Industrial park3


Negeri Sembilan CM Unveils Development Plan For Malaysia Vision Valley 2.0

Malaysia  -  January 2019

A comprehensive development plan (CDP) for Malaysia Vision Valley 2.0 (MVV 2.0) was launched by the Chief Minister of the state of Negeri Sembilan on 13 December, 2018. MVV 2.0 is a state-led private sector-driven development that spans across 153,411 ha in Seremban and Port Dickson, the largest towns in the state.

The CDP defines the growth development plan for MVV 2.0, aims to bring in international and local investors, creating job and business opportunities. As the master developer of MVV 2.0, Sime Darby is planning for the development of a high-tech and industrial park, which is among six projects identified under the first phase.

Sime Darby Property currently owns 2,838 acres within MVV 2.0 and has the option to acquire another 8,796 acres from Sime Darby Bhd, its parent company, within five years from the date of the public listing of the former. The first phase of MVV 2.0 spans over a 30-year development period covering 27,000 acres.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between the state government, through MVV Secretariat (MVVS) and MVV Holdings Sdn. Bhd. (MVVHSB), a subsidiary of Sime Darby Property in relation to the preliminary development stages of MVV 2.0. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Malaysia Green Technology Corporation and the state government via MVVS. Based on the MoU, the parties will collaborate in the implementation in delivering green concepts and green technology enablers for the MVV 2.0 project.

(Sources : The Edge Markets; The Sun Daily; Sime Darby Property)

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Cologne central station railway station train 163580


Malaysia Aims to Become ASEAN Train Equipment Manufacturing Hub

Malaysia  -  January 2019

The Malaysian government is keen to position its self as the rail equipment manufacturing hub in the ASEAN region based on a strong partnership with China, according to recent comments from the Transport Minister. The Transport Minister invited further investments from largest train maker in China, Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) to meet the requirement of new train sets for railway projects around the country. 

Examples of ongoing/ upcoming projects include Gemas-Johor Baru double-tracking, and light rail transit 3 (LRT3). The completion of the Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-track rail project will be part of the wider west coast electrified track system (ETS) in four years’ time. The MYR 8.9 billion Gemas-Johor Baru double-tracking project involves the construction of 197 km of double tracks, stations, electric trains, depots, land viaduct, bridges, and electrification and signalling systems.

CRRC’s rolling stock plant in Batu Gajah, Perak was established in 2015 with an estimated cost of USD 97 million,and it is the first and sole train manufacturing centre in the ASEAN region. Over 85% of employees at the plant are Malaysian. This plant currently has the capacity to assemble 200 train cars per year solely meant for the Malaysian market, supplying to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd and Prasarana Malaysia Bhd.

But the potential expansion could double its capacity and the plant could start exporting.  ASEAN countries most are looking to develop their transportation systems resulting in a strong demand for LRT, metro, suburban rail, locomotive and cargo trains.

(Source: The Edge Prop; Malaysian Reserve)



Malaysian Authorities Seeking Proposals To Rejuvenate Subang Airport

Malaysia  -  January 2019

The Star Newspaper reported recently that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has initiated a request for proposals (RFP) from local and global consultancies in a bid to rejuvenate the Subang Airport. The consultancy firms that are selected will be appointed as the master planner for the concept and design of the project covering a 1,063 -acre site. As of mid-December 2018,  about 15 local and multinational consultancies firm had obtained RFP documents and proposals were expected to be submitted by the end of December.

Subang International Airport served as Kuala Lumpur's main airport from 1965 to 1998, before the Kuala Lumpur International Airport was opened. The airport currently mostly serves smaller turboprop planes on domestic flights. 

The regeneration of Subang Airport is estimated to cost in the range of USD 360 to 600 million and the completion of the project could take up to 10 years, depending on the approved concept and design. There will be three parts of the project, including remodelling a part of Subang Airport as a business aviation hub, establishing a city airport by expanding and enhancing existing terminal and air site facilities, as well as setting up a complete aerospace ecosystem to bolster the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector and aircraft manufacturing.

Around 60-acres (0.24 sq km) from the 1,063-acre (4.3 sq km) land, will be convert into green field site close to Subang Skypark, which MAHB is transforming into an aerospace park valued at around USD 98 million.

The Subang Airport’s new terminal will increase capacity from the current three million passengers to five million, once it is competed. It is also expected to generate 5,000 employment opportunities and attract more than USD 250 million in investments by 2025.

(Source: The Star Online; Property Guru)

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Food consumer


DKSH Buys Auric Pacific's Singapore and Malaysia FMCG Distribution Business

Malaysia  -  January 2019

Swiss company, DKSH signed an agreement in December 2018 to acquire the consumer goods distribution business of Auric Pacific in Singapore and Malaysia for an initial price of USD 160 million, to complement its existing fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market expansion services. 

DKSH helps business partners grow by providing a complete range of specialized services along the value chain: from sourcing, market analysis and research, marketing and sales to distribution and logistics and after-sales services. Auric Pacific also operates as Market Expansion Services provider of fast moving consumer goods in Singapore and Malaysia. Auric's product portfolio includes more than 150 brands. The company also serves the food service channel for hotels, restaurants and cafés and owns two consumer brands (SCS and Buttercup) including production. With around 420 specialists, the Market Expansion Services provider distributes products to some 4,400 customers in Singapore and Malaysia.

The consumer goods distribution business of Auric Pacific generates net sales of around USD 185 million with an operating profit (EBIT) of approximately USD 14 million. The acquisition is supposed to create enhanced scale and synergies and DKSH expects the acquisition to be immediately earnings accretive. The existing management team of the business and employees will join DKSH and will be part of DKSH's Business Unit Consumer Goods.

(Source: The Edge; News Beezer)


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Customized Agent/ Distributor/Reseller Search

Having completed over 1000 customized agent/distributor/reseller searches for our clients over the years, this is one of the most popular trade services that we offer to potential clients. Typic...

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Sourcing Services

There is a growing interest in sourcing for products from South East Asia for strategic and competitive reasons. Companies from around the world are looking for suppliers in Malaysia, Thailand, ...

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Business Incorporation/ Site Selection

We counsel businesses on where to locate their office and industrial operations and what the optimal business structure should be to meet local government and tax requirements. Some of the quest...

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Market Research

To successfully export your products or services, you need to learn about your customers, your competitors and your industry. Our market research process starts off with brainstorming effective ...

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Trade Show Support

Many companies participate in trade shows hoping to find customers or local agents or distributors. However, they come away from these events with less than desired results. But with our trade s...

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Trade Mission Organization

Visiting a market to meet with prospective customers or partners is essential as business is built on developing personal connections and understanding the local culture. Traveling ...

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Trade shows can be an excellent option for companies and trade organizations to make key business and industry connections overseas. But to maximize the benefit of participating in ...

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With over 20 years of experience providing dedicated representation in South East Asia to economic development organizations (EDOs) from North America and Europe, we offer EDOs the ...

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