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Starting A Business In Malaysia

Starting A Business In Malaysia

There are some countries that it pays to set up your own business, and Malaysia is one of them. For years it has been a thriving country – and each year many expats set up home there. And with good reason – apart from the food and the people. 

Malaysia is the hub of manufacturing, trade, cultivation and culture. It is so well placed in Southeast Asia that the economy is flourishing. Since the 1990s, thousands of businesses have started and gotten great growth. So it is a great place for you to start. 

Of course, any business can fold at any time – no matter where in the world they are. So it isn’t going to be a golden ticket – but it isn’t going to be bad for you either.

Photo by CK Yeo on Unsplash

Understand Malaysia

You are going to want to go there. There is not much you can do other than stay for as long as possible – before you start your business. So give yourself plenty of time and check out the property Malaysia has to offer. Research the areas – because like everywhere else – different business will do better in different places. Getting a feel for the culture is going to be important. You can begin to build up your network, get to know people, find your favourite food place. The policies and the law are going to make a big difference to you and how you trade, learn them inside out too. 


You will, over time, build a bigger picture of Malaysia. You will see what it needs, what sells well, business models and moguls. You know the skill set you already have, so then – do the people there have the skills that are going to complement what you need? It might take time before you have worked these things out, which is why you need to set up a home there in advance. Starting smaller is better for your bank and your success. 

Government Approved

Once you have a few ideas, you are going to have to figure out if you can legally set any of those businesses up. The government has a range of restrictions that you are going to have to stick to. And there are some further restrictions for expats too. Do your research and do it well. However, you still have many areas that you can consider – it might be a case of fitting your skills into an industry you are free to trade-in. Researching and checking with the Company Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) is going to help you a lot. 


You should know from the off that you will be unable to start an unlimited company, a sole proprietor company, partnership, enterprise or LLP. Instead, you will be encouraged to start an international off-shore or LIC. It has special features and a lot of benefits for you. The company can be 100% owned by foreigners and has the lowest paid-up capital to run your international business. 

You will also need to check out the types of licenses and the costs attached – the best thing you can do is speak to the government and seek advice from expat law firms who will be able to with the finer details. 


You are going to have to find your suppliers. This will take time because there are a lot of options for you to choose from. You can haggle the price in most cases because there are often many companies who provide the same thing. And when you are doing this, you will need to take into account the exchange rate, because you might think it sounds a good deal until you do the math at a later date. 

Create a comprehensive list of everything you need, and then look for between 5-10 suppliers in each bracket. 


Once you have nailed everything else down, you are going to need a premise to trade or work from. The location will dictate the kind of clients that you are likely to get, and it says more about your business than you might realise. The town and street and even the number (cultural reason) will impact if people will buy or work with you. 

Remember that you want to be easy to find, have great traffic links and parking is a must (if you have meetings in your premises. 

Of course, business research is a must, no matter where you are going to set up. But when you are choosing a country rich in history, culture and a lot of superstition and beliefe then you want to be the auspicious you can be.

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