Exporting guide to Malaysia
Young and growing population
Malaysia has a young and growing population of over 30 million consumers (World Bank, 2018). An increasingly affluent middle class is willing to pay for quality. Malaysian society is multi-cultural and multi-lingual, but English is the business language and is widely spoken -particularly in metropolitan areas.
Respect for British brands
British brands are well respected in the market. Competition can be tough and price is a big factor in decision making, but companies like BAE Systems, BP, Prudential, Sports Direct and Unipart are already selling in Malaysia.
Gateway to South East Asia
Malaysia is part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Singapore, Indonesia Thailand and Vietnam. These 5 core countries represent the UK’s second-largest global export destination after the United States. As a region, ASEAN is predicted to become the world’s fourth largest market by 2030 (Baroness Fairhead CBE, 2018).
Malaysia: at a glance
Want to see more on Malaysia? Sign up for additional market data, content specific to your product or sector and to compare Malaysia side by side with other markets.
Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Malaysia have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:
Malaysia has become an educational hub for south-east Asia. There is growing demand for high-quality learning from around the region, to study at British or British-linked institutions as borders have re-opened to students
Government policies prioritising international education have led to a thriving private education market. This has created strong public-private partnerships and made it easier for UK companies and institutions to do business in this sector.
Adoption of technology
Accelerated by the pandemic, high internet penetration and broadband is available in schools and colleges, there are opportunities for UK educational companies with digital solutions to improve the learning experience.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
The Malaysian government has prioritised AI as a key part of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. The UK is supporting by sharing knowledge and helping to develop strategies. This should create more opportunities for UK companies.
Malaysia’s smart cities framework launched by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in 2019 is driving demand for solutions in smart governance, mobility, health, environment and resource management, wellness and economic vibrancy- underpinned by updated digital infrastructure. Kuala Lumpur is among 5 priority cities for roll-out.
The government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 to 2024 prioritises opportunities in structured governance, competent people, best practices processes and the deployment of effective technology to prevent cyber threats.
Education and training
Private hospitals and specialist facilities are improving the skills of their staff to gain market share, especially in areas like cardiology and fertility. Many practitioners have studied in the UK and are open to collaboration.
Medical providers are looking for digital solutions in areas from integrated patient records systems to mobile patient apps. There are opportunities in the public sector for technology that can help limited budgets to maximise reach and impact.