Why Malaysia

Updated: Mar 13

Malaysia offers a cost-competitive, sustainable and conducive environment for your business to thrive.


Malaysia is well serviced by all primary air and shipping lines. This coupled with the country’s sustainable and solid economic foundation, comprehensive business ready environment, future-forward focus and dynamic skilled workforce have made Malaysia an attractive cost-competitive investment location in the region, and is fast becoming a preferred centre for shared services and leading technology industries.


Business English is widely used. The multilingual population is fluent in Malay, English, Mandarin, Hindi and Tamil


Freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism widely practised


Secure Economic Foundations


Malaysia has a highly-diversified economic and export structure, supportive labour market, low and stable inflation, a strong and well-capitalised financial sector and a healthy current account of the balance of payments.


Ideally Situated


Malaysia is well-positioned in one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. The South-East Asia region has recorded average GDP growth of 5.3% per annum over the last 20 years.


Heart of South-East Asia


Centre of South-East Asia

Market Access of over 650 million people with combined GDP of US$3.2 trillion


Well-connected to major ports in Asia

Mumbai, India within 6 hours reach and Beijing, China within 9 hours reach


Next to one of the world's busiest shipping lanes

Straits of Malacca provides access to global supply chains via 2 key ports


Gateway to ASEAN and Beyond

Attract 31% of Global FDI Market attracts estimated 31% of Global FDI

World’s 3rd Largest Workforce ASEAN has the world’s third largest labour force and a growing middle class – a powerful engine for long term growth


Largest FDI inflow of any emerging market region

Poised to become the world’s largest single market by 2030


Diversified Economy


Malaysia is an export-driven diversified economy spurred on by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries. Its mature and integrated ecosystems developed over the decades nurtured a strong local supply chain that supports the long term growth of your business.


Malaysia’s manufacturing sector plays an important role in the global supply chain while domestic activities are well represented by the services sector. It continues to be an attractive location for businesses across various industries. Malaysia’s diversified sectors offer abundant opportunities for investors expanding into alternative markets.


Extensive Trade Links, Lower Cost of Doing Business


Malaysia is a market-oriented economy with 16 Free Trade Agreements

Malaysia has various free trade agreements (FTA), which include bilateral FTAs with Japan, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Chile, Australia and Turkey. On the ASEAN level, Malaysia has regional FTAs through the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) with China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India.

This creates a potential market size of more than 4 billion people globally.


Low cost of doing business


Up to 98% of total products have 0% import duties under Malaysia’s FTAs with ASEAN. Lower trade barriers translate to lower costs of doing business. This grants companies operating in Malaysia preferential access to capture growth opportunities and immediate markets in one of the world’s largest trading blocs.


Higher Investment Opportunities Through RCEP


Malaysia is among the 10 signatory countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement. RCEP represents 30% of the world’s population and collectively contributes to 30% of global economic activities, as measured by GDP. This is expected to establish a strong framework for cooperation and contribute significantly to economic recovery for the economies involved. Given that the member countries of RCEP are among Malaysia’s top 15 trading partners, this free trade agreement is expected to create a more liberal, facilitative and competitive investment environment that will provide improved investment facilitation and investor aftercare.


Malaysia's Global Standing

Malaysia is one of the fastest growing nation in the region. Ranked among the top emerging markets for investment and recognised for its protection of investors as well as its responsiveness to facilitating business needs, Malaysia is the offshore base from which your company can prosper.


5th Most Attractive Emerging Market in 2021

2nd Ease of Doing Business within ASEAN Protecting Investors 2nd Trade and Connectivity in Southeast Asia

4th Most Competitive as A Manufacturing Hub (among 17 economies)

2nd Ease of Protecting Minority Investors

14th University & Industry Research Collaboration

7th Market Capitalisation and State of Cluster Development


Business Ready Environment


It is easy for you to start and scale-up your business smoothly in Malaysia. Malaysia’s established financial and banking sectors, business-friendly policies, ready infrastructure and supportive government facilities make it straightforward for companies to set up operations there. Malaysia is ranked in the top 12 out of 190 economies in Ease of Doing Business.


Malaysia is well-positioned to serve as a central hub for worldwide trade. Its air transport infrastructure is among the best in the world. Its coastal ports provide direct maritime access in Asia to Singapore, China, as well as to Europe and the U.S. It also offers investors a selection of secure trade corridors and industrial zones that regularly facilitate continual supply chain and business operations.


Its policies are pro-business, prudent and pragmatic with an environment that is safe, secure and scalable for the long term success of businesses there. This includes 100% equity ownership in the manufacturing and selected services sectors, competitive investment incentives and IP protection laws that conform with international standards.

Malaysia's Global Standing


Its efforts in attracting investments and driving productivity and innovation through economic and regulatory reforms have received worldwide recognition by various international institutions.


Progressive Infrastructure, Excellent Connectivity


Malaysia is committed to continuously developing and upgrading its infrastructure. This has resulted in over 500 dedicated industrial estates, developed specialised industrial parks and 18 free industrial zones (FIZs), expanding high-tech telecommunication technologies, growing network of highways, efficient seaports and well-recognised international airports.

Malaysia has the perfect combination of world-class infrastructure components to manoeuvre people and goods around the country quickly and affordably. Its fibre optic technology, international airports, and seaports as well as well-maintained highways make Malaysia an ideal access point to the Asia-Pacific market.


Industrial parks are continuously being developed by state governments as well as private developers to meet industry’s demands. Malaysia’s economic corridors attract strategic partners to invest in its respective regions.


Companies in FIZs are allowed duty free imports of raw materials, components, parts, machinery and equipment directly required in the manufacturing process. In areas where FIZs are not available, companies may apply to set up Licenced Manufacturing Warehouses (LMWs).


Specialised parks are developed to cater to the needs of specific industries. These include Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah which also caters to technology-intensive industries and R&D activities.


Liberal Equity Policy


Malaysia’s liberal equity policy makes it easy for foreign companies to set up their business there to stay ahead. Foreign investors can hold 100% of the equity in all investments in new and expansion / diversification projects in the manufacturing sector and selected services sectors. Liberalised services sub-sectors include selected areas of health and social services, tourism services, transport services, business services and computer and related services.


Intellectual Property (IP) Protection


Malaysia’s IP laws are in conformance with international standards:

  • Member of the World Intellectual Property Protection Organisation (WIPO)

  • Signatory of the Paris Convention and Berne Convention which govern IP rights

  • Signatory of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIP 8) under the WTO

Malaysia has Investment Guarantee Agreements (IGAs) with more than 60 countries.


Malaysia's IP Protection Safeguards Innovation


Malaysia has secure Intellectual Property (IP) protections which safeguard more than just your ideas or concepts. It protects your genuine business assets that are integral to the core services of the business and overall long-term viability. Malaysia’s robust Intellectual Property (IP) laws will secure all your innovations.

Intellectual Property


- Design

- Patents

- Invention

- Authorship

- Law

- Copyright

- Protection

- Brand


Malaysia is ranked second in Southeast Asia in Annual International Intellectual Property (IP) index.

Malaysia is fostering a vibrant R&D landscape through various initiatives including an incentive for IP development.


The Conducive Business Environment in Malaysia


The conducive business environment in Malaysia has made the country one of the world’s top investment destinations for offshore manufacturing operations. Many foreign companies has established their operations in the country. These companies continue to expand and diversify operations in the country, reflecting ongoing confidence in Malaysia as a preferred site for their business ventures.


Convergence of Traditional Services Hubs


Malaysia has enticed a hybrid suite of business models from Global/Regional Headquarters, Centers of Excellence (COEs) to Procurement and Distribution Hubs.

Malaysia holds many attractions for MNCs looking to tap into a strategic location within Asia Pacific for their services operations to support the management of their regional or global supply chains.


Future Forward Economy


Malaysia is ramping up efforts to nurture a future forward economy. As one of the most technologically developed countries among industrialising nations in the ASEAN region, Malaysia’s persistent drive to engage modern technologies proves to be a great advantage to investors in Malaysia.


Malaysia's Global Standing

Its efforts in attracting investments and driving productivity and innovation through economic and regulatory reforms have received worldwide recognition by various international institutions.

2nd World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020 - Asia

7th Network Readiness Index 2020 - Asia Pacific

11th Emerging Start-up Ecosystem

8th Most Innovative Country among Asian Economies

14th University and Industry Research Collaboration

Dynamic Skilled Workforce


Malaysia’s talent pool of trainable, well-educated, multilingual and diverse workforce is the foundation of its economic growth. Malaysia has 20 public and 53 private universities, in addition to over 1,400 technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVET) that have been established under different ministries to support the growth of the talent pool in Malaysia. The labour force in Malaysia is largely dominated by a young demographic of ages between 25 to 29 years, comprising 18% of the total population or 2.8 million persons. This is followed by the age groups of 30 to 34 years and 35 to 39 years with a contribution of 15.8% and 13.5% respectively.


Backed by the Government’s continued support of human resource development in all sectors, the quality of Malaysia’s labour force is one of the very best in the region. The average Malaysian can to speak at least two or three languages. English proficiency levels are high, and school leavers going into the work market have at least 11 years of formal education.


Malaysia promotes collaborations between universities and industries. It allows the industrial sectors to lead curriculum design as well as partner with programmes such as apprenticeships, hands-on training, real-life simulations and specialised employer training programmes.


Significant Investment in Education

Malaysia ranks 1st in total public expenditure on education (% to GDP) among ASEAN countries.


Malaysia ranked 26th across 88 countries in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020 (GTCI 2020) and ranked 6th globally for Talent Employability.


High Priority on Education


Malaysia is an upper middle-income country with a well-developed education system. The quality of Malaysia’s workforce is one of the best in the region.


The Times Higher Education’s (THE) Asia University Rankings 2021 featured 15 of Malaysia’s public institutions. Universiti Malaya made it to the top 50 institutions in the region in its fourth consecutive year. The other universities included Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Utara Malaysia.


Great Place for Work and Life


Malaysia is a melting pot of diverse cultures and among the most welcoming and hospitable places in the world to work and live in.


Malaysia was ranked 4th as the best destination for expatriates to live and work in, as well as ranking above the global average in every index such as Ease of Settling In and Cost of Living Index. Malaysia was ranked among the top 20 best countries in the world to live in, and notably ranked 7th for its cultural, open and welcoming communities.


One of the country’s most distinctive features is its rich diversity of cultures, a heritage derived from its ethnic mix of some of the world’s oldest civilisations. This potpourri of race and culture has enabled Malaysians to speak at least two, and even three, languages – Malay (the national language), English, Mandarin, Tamil and other Asian languages. Living in such a cosmopolitan environment, Malaysians are warm, friendly people who easily accept foreigners into their circle of friends. In Malaysia, not only are there abundant business opportunities, you can expect unique, colourful experiences and lasting friendships.


World-Class Healthcare Services in Malaysia


Malaysia remains among the top 10 retirement destinations in the 2021 International Global Retirement Index by International Living. Among reasons cited was Malaysia’s low cost of living, temperate weather as well as affordable healthcare. Its world-class healthcare services are fully equipped with modern and sophisticated infrastructure. It is easy to get an appointment to see a specialist there. It is a simple process of registering at a hospital and waiting in line to see the doctor of your choice. In Malaysia, locals and tourists are treated by some of the most highly trained doctors and healthcare professionals in the region.

Malaysia Healthcare - Quality, Accessible & Affordable Medical Care

World-Class State-of-the-art technology, medical expertise and experience are provided there, complete with international accreditation and are well-recognised. Quality Standards Stringent quality and safety standards set by the Ministry of Health.

Skilled Talent Expertly trained healthcare professionals from reputable institutions in Malaysia, UK, Australia and USA.

Global Recognition National and international accreditations, eg. MSQH, JCI, ACHS.

Ease of Communication The plethora of languages spoken there makes you feel that you are not too far from home. Almost all doctors speak fluent English.

Easy Accessibility Minimal wait hours with access to specialists and various treatments.

Competitive Affordability Treatment costs are monitored by the Ministry of Health.

Global Halal Hub Providing consumers with more options and meeting your requirements in religious needs.


Quality Education System

The Malaysian education system caters to a wide range of community. It has a large number of public and private schools, with a comprehensive curriculum that is regulated by the Ministry of Education. Expatriates are also given the option to enrol your children in the many highly ranked international schools that cater to the teaching methodologies and curriculum of their country of origin.

Many international universities have also set up branch campuses in Malaysia in recent years. This includes Curtin University in Sarawak, University of Reading Malaysia and Xiamen University Malaysia.

Comfortable and Affordable Housing

There is a wide selection of comfortable housing in Malaysia. Monthly rentals for accommodation can range from as low as RM2,500 – 3,800/ USD590 – USD960 for a furnished 3-bedroom condominium in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur to approximately RM15,000/ USD3,500 for a luxury bungalow in a posh neighbourhood nearer to the city.


Unsurpassed Lifestyle

Life in Malaysia is an adventure. The year-long tropical-warm and sunny climate offers an unsurpassed lifestyle, especially for people who love the outdoors. Daily temperatures range from 33°C (90F) during the day to 22°C in the late evening.


Families can spend many exciting weekends at Malaysia’s national parks with their magnificent rivers and mountains, fly to one of the many island retreats for snorkelling and scuba diving, drive for a game of golf in a cool hill resort, shop-till-you-drop in any ultra-modern shopping complexes or factory outlets, or have an unforgettable experience of fun and adventure at one of Malaysia’s sprouting amusement parks.


Food Paradise


Malaysian cuisine is, like the country itself, culturally rich and diverse. The sum of various delicious parts, Malaysian cuisine includes Malay, Chinese and Indian influences. Whether you like street food under oversized umbrellas, or if you prefer five-star dining, Malaysia has something for every appetite.


Back to Nature

Malaysia is one of the leading dive destinations in the world, with one of the richest marine environments in the Indo-Pacific Basin. The incredible biodiversity of marine life, coupled with warm, clear waters, beautiful islands and breathtaking beaches keep divers coming back to Malaysia.


Diving sites in Malaysia include Tioman Island and Aur Island in Johor, Kapas Island and Perhentian Island in Terengganu and Mantanani, Mataking, Mabul and Sipadan in Sabah. Imagine sandy beaches and turquoise tropical waters rich in rainbow-coloured sea life. Malaysia is a true gift to lovers of the sea.


There are also plenty nature reserves and hiking trails across Malaysia to be explored. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind by hiking through Malaysia’s mesmerizing flora and fauna, and reward yourself with breathtaking peak views. These include Taman Negara (National Park Malaysia), Bako National Park, KL Forest Eco Park, Broga Hill, Penang Hill, and Mount Kinabalu.

World-class Shopping Destination


From the giant malls with trendy designer stores and premium outlets to the night market stalls and pop-up collectors market, Malaysia is a shopper’s paradise. The One Utama Shopping Centre is the largest shopping mall in the country and the seventh-largest retail space in the world. Malaysia features hundreds of duty-free outlets in airports and tourist attractions like the tropical island paradises of Langkawi and Labuan. Up north to Penang and down south to Johor, or across the ocean to East Malaysia, the country offers plenty of options to tickle your shopping fancy.

Vibrant Culture and Arts


Malaysian culture draws upon the various people in the country. From indigenous tribes to Malay, Chinese and Indian cultural influences, it has made us the melting pot of Asia. Malaysia is one of the world’s best producers of lion dance costumes, which can be seen colourfully displayed during the Lunar New Year celebrations. Malaysian Batik is one of the oldest textile arts around and usually seen in official garments with floral motifs. It has its unique shadow puppetry called the Wayang Kulit, which is used in storytelling that dates back generations. Malaysia also has over 130 museums to enrich visitors with information and exhibits on the country’s history, culture and heritage. Among them include the National Museum, Islamic Arts Museum, State Museums of Melaka and Petrosains Museum.


Tropical Nightlife


Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city complete with an incredible nightlife scene. There is something for everyone with its exclusive restaurants, hip bars, trendy nightclubs, and cool karaoke spots. There are many trendy nightlife spots in the city such as TREC which can draw crowds of thousands during weekends with its hipster speakeasies, comedy clubs, piano bars and many others to fit any musical taste. The Roof 1 First Avenue, Mantra Bangsar and the Wet Deck at the stylish W Kuala Lumpur hotel are fashionable establishments that offer some of the best views of the city skyline.

Thrilling Sporting Events


Malaysia features world-class sporting facilities and hosts many exciting international events. Le Tour de Langkawi is an annual race sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Penang International Dragon Boat Festival offers thrills as teams battle for glory. The ATP Malaysian Open provides tennis fans with dazzling entertainment. Besides watching sports, you can work on your golf game at one of our 200 golf courses including some designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Ernie Els. Beat the heat and swing at night at premier golf courses that provide glare-free floodlights.


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