The Smart Entrepreneur’s Guide to Establishing Brand Presence in Malaysia


Whether it’s the low overhead costs or the easing restrictions and requirements for expatriate entrepreneurs, doing business in Malaysia is a no-brainer. But before you expand to this Southeast Asian country, it’s best to know these tips that may just save you valuable resources including time, money, and manpower.

Layout 1Figure Out a Strategic Location

Company formation in Malaysia must be done within key business districts where there is heavy foot traffic on a daily basis. It also makes your brand more trustworthy and professional-looking if you position it besides other well-known local brands. Keep in mind, though, that the further you move inland or towards the country’s business centre, rental rates for office space will jump significantly.

space-desk-workspace-coworkingConsider a Virtual Office

Basically, virtual office for rent offers telecom and address services without the need to acquire dedicated space. It’s different from the traditional office centers or executive suites that do rent out physical space for commercial clientele. Compared to these services, a virtual office cuts out the unnecessary executive suite lease terms that do not always bode well for certain business models.
Brazil Businesspeople working on beach Photographer: Hans Neleman/Getty Images

Understand the Services

Being a relatively nascent service niche, virtual offices may come nothing more as an ambiguous concept. Understanding all their services at full scale is imperative to making sound business decisions. Telecom services attached to virtual offices include a remote receptionist, virtual assistant, and voicemail. Answering services or call centers can also be hired for the purpose of receiving and relaying large volumes of phone inquiries and issues. Make sure to look for a virtual office provider that specializes in your native language.

Don’t Skimp

Starting a company on foreign soil requires capital. And skimping out on things like professional localized advice, good manufacturing and production lines, and experienced workforce can cost you more than you could potentially save. Hire good accountants, translators, and legal counselors to ensure that every step your business takes is accurate and accounted for. Fill your staff positions with experienced and well-educated employees who can contribute to the growth of your start-up.

20111128-politics-economy-businessLearn the Political and Economic Climate

Some countries are notorious for confiscating properties and businesses owned by expatriates. You’ll want to avoid such territory as much as possible. Other countries have favourable property rights and full access to expats. In terms of economic situation, Malaysia is renowned for being the top third richest country in the southeastern part of the continent. It’s also one of the most competitive in the planet, ranked 14th as of last year. Furthermore, the World Bank ranked Malaysia in 6th place in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Aside from prestigious titles, of course, try to get a feel of how the market operates, what goods and services are in constant demand, and unemployment rates.

In the end, the best advice you could possibly get as an expat entrepreneur is to jump on the opportunity. You’ll make tons of mistakes, but the key point is to learn from those mistakes and tweak your business approach until you get it right.