Small Business Opportunities in Malaysia

March 14, 2014 | Valerie Wong

In terms of setting up shop in the Malaysian landscape, would-be foreign entrepreneurs should remember that registration is a must before anything else. Sure, making considerations on which market you should enter and finding the right connections is way up there in terms of preparing yourself and your startup for the brave new world of Malaysian consumerism, but fully concretizing your business starts with you registering your company with the Malaysian government. First thing's first. There are a myriad of legal and bureaucratic issues you need to take care of, so you should be methodical and deliberate about them. You should also brace yourself for the procedure ahead.

It's Not a Bumpy Ride, But a Long-Term One 

The foundations of your business rest upon how well-registered and well-planned it is. It might be a smart idea to get a Malaysian lawyer who's familiar with all those local laws behind your back and serve as the proverbial wings beneath your wings. All would-be entrepreneurs should have Malaysian-based businesses that are legally cleared, marketed superbly, financially balanced, and has an effective profit-making scheme that will justify the risks and debts it has accrued in order to exist. Otherwise, you're looking at a potential money pit that no Malaysian would dare patronize or even poke with a ten-foot pole, metaphorically speaking.

Whether it's an industrial or commercial company, a franchise or a standalone firm, it's a must that it should at least yield 10 times the Malaysian economy's GNI or Gross National Income per capita and have a maximum of 50 employees. Sure, great things start from small beginnings, but by using the above metrics, your small business endeavors will be less disadvantaged and more concentrated towards profit instead of mere survival in an alien Asian market unlike anything a foreigner has ever seen. The more traction your business has from the start after registration, the likelier it will survive in the long run. 

Malay Small Business Opportunities and Registration Details

In order to get those important small business opportunities in Malaysia (in case you don't actually have the resources to spare to have 50 employees and a yield that's 10 times the Malaysian economy's GNI right off the gate), entering cost-effective markets are in order, like setting up an ecommerce site. Or perhaps you can enter the lucrative hotel and resorts trade. If all else fails, regardless of whichever country or region you within the ASEAN union, a good rule of thumb that's always welcome to localities in terms of foreign business relations is setting up investments.

At any rate, huge capital is required to keep your Malay small business startup afloat is because you should be prepared always for hard-hitting losses from the start, since Malaysia isn't as acclimated to foreign ways as, say, Taiwan, Korea, or the Philippines. Register your company at SOCSO or the Social Security Organization, then as an employer, it's also your responsibility to register all employees who have a monthly wage of lower than RM 3,000. From there, get a "Form 1" and "Form 2" Registration Forms (for employers and employees respectively) at by printing it out and filling it up. Don't forget to register your firm with every last government agency via a single company ID or myCoID.

Are you planning on founding a Malay-based business? Consult with Servcorp to get started! With the company's virtual office and corporate registration solutions, you should be able to establish your Malaysian business endeavors a reality immediately.