22 Most Profitable Businesses in Malaysia 2022

Looking for the most profitable business opportunities in Malaysia? With a fast-growing economy, an interesting blend of culture and demographics, Malaysia is a dream destination for business owners. Here are the top 22 business opportunities in Malaysia for you to explore.

Top business opportunities in Malaysia

1. Tourism

Given that tourism is a major contributor to the GDP of Malaysia, it is one of the most profitable businesses to start in Malaysia. However, you will need to keep updated on the travel restrictions in light of COVID-19. Malaysia waived quarantine requirements for people from Singapore, and starting March 15, quarantine requirements will also be waived for vaccinated travellers from Cambodia and Thailand. An advisory panel has also recommended opening up the Malaysian borders for tourists to boost the economy.

2. Fashion business

The market for fashion apparel is expected to grow by 7.21 % in Malaysia between 2022 and 2026. The growth, according to a study by HKTDC, is because of the surge in consumer confidence, rising affluence, and in particular, increased spending by women.

Some of the biggest fashion companies are located in Malaysia, while there is a growing interest in fashion and fashion accessories. This is the right time to tap into the fashion appetite of Malaysians.

3. Auto service and car wash

Auto service workshops and car wash services have a great profit scope in Malaysia as most people use private cars. While vehicle registrations reached 31.2 million units in 2019, this will only grow in the coming years to expand business opportunities.

4. Leasing business

Right from plant and machinery, chattel to ships, expanding your leasing business into Malaysia can be a feasible option. When you incorporate your international company in Labuan (a territory in Malaysia), you can enjoy 100% foreign ownership apart from tax incentives.

5. Real estate business

The real estate industry offers wonderful business opportunities for entrepreneurs in Malaysia, with the government making it easy to buy houses. While you can choose your working hours, focusing on high-value properties can help you make a handsome profit.

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6. Construction business

The construction industry in Malaysia is expected to grow at a rate of 6.8% between 2022 and 2025. With new residential Apartments, malls, houses, and commercial buildings always coming up in Malaysia, this is a good business opportunity.

7. Rubber plantation

Malaysia is one of the largest producers of rubber in the world. While Malaysia does import raw rubber, it earns a majority of revenue from exporting finished rubber products such as medical gloves. A strong labour force in the agricultural sector and tax incentives are some advantages of investing in Malaysia’s rubber industry.

If you have a strong background in managing rubber plantations and exporting rubber, consider expanding to Malaysia by investing in an existing rubber plantation business.

8. E-commerce store

The pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping, with many consumers preferring to buy through e-commerce stores. The top five products bought through e-commerce stores are travel, accommodation, fashion, beauty products, electronics, toys, and furniture. Given the vast market and its demand, businesses may benefit greatly from expanding into Malaysia by setting up an offshore company.

9. Computer and smartphone repairs

According to Statista, about 29 million people own smartphones in Malaysia currently while an additional 1.74 million people are expected to become smartphone users by 2025. Close to 80% of the population owns computers.

For companies with an established presence in computer and smartphone repairs in other Asian countries, this represents an opportunity for expanding their business into Malaysia.

10. Microfinance services

Small and medium businesses (SMB) are the backbone of Malaysia’s economy. While Malaysia is known for its strong support for local entrepreneurship, many small businesses are struggling to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. Microfinancing has emerged as a suitable option to boost the economy going forward.

Malaysia ranked 12th in the World Bank Group’s list of countries for Ease of Doing Business in 2020. A favourable business environment apart from ongoing support for microfinancing is the top reason to expand into this sector in Malaysia.

11. 3D printing business

To remain competitive, Malaysia’s manufacturing industry is looking to adopt new technologies such as 3D printing. During the pandemic, talented entrepreneurs in Malaysia used 3D printing to quickly make face masks, but experts see immense potential for 3D printing in Malaysia to create rapid prototyping in a cost-effective way. The low cost of 3D printers, open-source designs’ availability are some drivers of 3D printing growth.

12. Oil and gas

While Malaysia is the second-largest producer of oil and gas in Southeast Asia, the Malaysian government has continued to encourage FDI (foreign direct investment) in many sectors, including oil and gas. While the state-controlled PETRONAS has the sole rights to gas and oil deposits in Malaysia, foreign companies can enter into PSCs or production sharing contracts.

As a non-Malaysian firm, your company can participate in oil and gas production by partnering with local firms.

13. Cleaning services

The home services market in Malaysia is expected to grow to SGD 68 billion (USD 50.49 billion) by 2025, with a 55% year-on-year growth between 2021-2025.  While the demand for cleaning services is growing, the industry is labour-intensive, requiring a major investment in human resources. Partnering with a PEO services provider such as Links is an easier way for foreign investors to plan on expanding their cleaning business into Malaysia.

14. Export-Import

Apart from skilled labour, ease of doing business, and good infrastructure, Malaysia is the gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. This is an economic union of ten member states to foster trade and regional cooperation. Malaysia is also a member of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).

In addition, Malaysia’s transport links offer easy access to international travel and the global supply chain. Five international airports connect Malaysia to all major trade hubs in Asia.

15. Food supply/restaurant

The food business is a thriving one in Malaysia and is expected to grow to RM109.08 billion from the current RM64.9 billion. Malaysian food is a vibrant blend of different cultures and cuisines. The food industry in the country comprises fast food cafes, full-service restaurants, self-service cafeterias, and street kiosks. If your food business serves unique local cuisines in Singapore or other Asian countries, you can obtain a retail or wholesale trade licence.

16. Hotel booking services

Plenty of destinations in Malaysia attract millions of tourists to Malaysia, making the online hotel booking business a feasible investment option. As the tourism industry grows, the number of hotels and guests has been increasing steadily in Malaysia.  Compared to offline bookings, 88% of travellers prefer booking hotels online, leading hotels to partner with third-party booking engines.

17. Professional services

In Malaysia, professionals and consultants such as business management consultants, tax consultants, lawyers, and accountants are in demand. Diverse human resources, 100% foreign ownership apart from multilingual professionals who are competent in English and Malay are the advantages for foreign investors.

18. IT business

The IT sector is a fast-growing one in Malaysia, accounting for 19.1% of Malaysia’s GDP. Businesses in the hardware, software, or cloud computing sectors are well-positioned to expand into Malaysia. Over 500 business parks and a reliable internet speed make Malaysia an attractive destination for IT investment.

19. Departmental store

Strong private consumption and ongoing investments in infrastructure make the retail sector a promising one for foreign investors. Excellent transport links and international delivery services help retail businesses cater to rising market demand.

20. Affiliate marketing

Given that 86% of the people in Malaysia are social media users, expanding your business to build a local affiliate marketing platform can be a viable option. The platform connects marketers with influencers and affiliates.

21. T-shirt printing

In Malaysia, wearing custom T-shirts is a popular trend leading to the growth of the t-shirt printing market. For instance, a ‘print on demand’ apparel company in Malaysia grew its year-on-year profits by 200% to reach RM8 million in 2020.

22. Market research

Exploring Malaysia for expanding your market research services business may be a good idea. You can do so through a joint-venture corporation with 30% of shareholders being Malaysian individuals or corporations.

Expand Your Business with Our PEO And EOR Services

If you already own one of these businesses, you should consider expanding your presence in Malaysia. At Links International, we offer the best Employer of Record (EOR)/ Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) Secondment services, enabling cost-effective and quick business expansion. Our in-house expertise ensures you hire the right local talent in quick time while staying compliant with local labour, payroll, and tax laws.

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