Few things are as exciting as launching a business. When it comes to startups, Malaysia has emerged as one of the best environments for entrepreneurs in the Pacific region. Several things make the country a great place to bring your business ideas to life, such as the country’s reduced tax rate for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). More is afoot here than just low tax rates. In fact, there are at least six great reasons to consider making your entrepreneurship dreams come true in Malaysia.
The Companies Act, which became law in 2016, creates a favourable environment for all businesses, including startups. What the act did was make it easier to launch a business at low cost with less paperwork, among changes helpful to businesses. Some of the new rules make the following possible:
- An individual, without others, can incorporate a business and still enjoy the benefits of limited personal liability that a corporation offers
- Lower operating costs — in the past, small corporations had to involve outside entities, including auditors at cost, to run their businesses. This is no longer the case.
- A focus on creativity and innovation — in previous years, business owners had to focus on tedious matters such as having general meetings, shareholder meetings, filing memorandums, drafting resolutions. Today, startup owners and teams can focus their energy creating products and services.
Whether you have a small team or plan to launch your startup solo, you have a supportive environment in which to live your entrepreneurship dream in Malaysia.
Malaysia isn’t the biggest country in Asia, but it has a fairly sizable population. Around 31.2 million people call the country home, and for startups, the nice thing is that nearly one-third of the population lives in urban areas. They have mobile devices and plenty of access to the internet. Most urban dwellers and many of those living in less populated areas have access to 4G. Given a potential market of millions of web-savvy consumers, well-planned tech-focused businesses have great chances of succeeding in Malaysia. Think fintech, medical research, transportation and logistics, cyber security innovations when planning your startup up. These kinds of tech businesses and others have the potential to do well.
Easy Access to Singapore
Singapore ranks high atop many of the world’s “best” lists, which is a significant benefit for Malaysian entrepreneurs. Singapore and Malaysia have bilateral, and highly lucrative, trade agreements that make it easy for businesses to set up and find customers in both countries. Having easy access to one of world’s most economically stable and wealthy countries also makes it possible to find enthusiastic investors to help your startup during the critical much phase. Numerous pitching events, startup accelerators, co-working spaces for entrepreneurs, and incubation hubs in Singapore mean that Malaysia startups can get the support they need to grow. Lastly, with access to this very friendly neighbour by road and rail, startups can scale their businesses internationally without ever getting on an airplane — unless they choose to.
Launching a startup can be risky if you don’t have the right team in place. One of the things that makes it easy to be successful is the availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour. What makes this possible is the country’s advanced education system that graduates plenty of skilled workers. Malaysia is a good place to find highly qualified lawyers, marketing teams, and other professional workers. So you can be expect to fill positions in your startup such as finance, human resources, engineering with local employees. Coupled with a low and unskilled workforce, which you might need at some point during the startup process, you can be sure of finding the talent you need locally, rather than having to look outside the country for skilled labour, which can be costly.
Malaysia’s workers are more than skilled; they have a global outlook. It seems like a small thing, but the country has had such extensive relationships with other countries for so long, that its workforce is up to speed on the customs and expectations of both local and global clientele. The majority of Malaysians speak three to four languages — Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and English — and many locals are as comfortable with various global cultures, such as Western culture, as they are with their own. A cosmopolitan workforce makes it easy to launch your startup with an eye on scaling beyond the country’s borders. For example, if you were to launch a lifestyle information product, having a staff with a global outlook makes it easier to tailor aspects of the product to appeal to potential customers worldwide.
High-End Business Partners
Your startup can’t be successful in a vacuum, which is why being surrounded by thriving partners, vendors, and clients offers the inspiration and networking opportunities you need to be successful. Malaysia has this field covered in spades. Startups crop up with a frequency that’s reminiscent of Silicon Valley’s heyday. Grab, for example, is a local ride-hailing firm that does for Malaysia what Uber does on a global scale, offering easy rides via downloadable app. Grab has become a significant part of the local transportation infrastructure. Another successful business is 123RF Malaysia. The image-licencing firm is notable not just for what it does — selling access to copyrighted images and video — but for what it signifies: Malaysia takes intellectual property rights seriously.
Malaysia offers a supportive environment for startups, so whether you’re working alone or with a team, the sooner you launch, the sooner your business can become the next big thing.