Small business ideas in Malaysia

Small business ideas in Malaysia

Malaysia is a great destination to invest in among southeast Asian nations. The vibrant economy of Malaysia has attracted many foreign and local entrepreneurs. Many people who are looking for ideas to set up a small business in Malaysia, often seem to get confused about several aspects. For instance, what type of business they should begin with? or, how is the demand of a particular business in Malaysia, etc? To deal with those queries, this article schemed out some of the popular and profitable small business ideas in Malaysia.

You can get your business registered in Malaysia. Company registration in Malaysia will give you all the information you need with step-by-step guidelines.

List of small business ideas in Malaysia

Here is a list of preferred small business ideas that you can easily start in Malaysia.

  • Restaurant business
  • Child care
  • Laundry
  • Coffee shop
  • Travel Agency
  • Tourism
  • Fashion company
  • Foods and Snacks corner
  • Micro-finance services 
  • Petroleum business
  • Internet business
  • Professional services
  • Smartphone and PC repair
  • Real estate materials retailers
  • Aircon Service
  • MotorBike Service
  • Cleaning Service
  • Key Maker and Access Card
  • Smokey Red Meat Food
  • Big Size Photocopy and Banner Business
  • Business Card & Office Letterhead
  • Seal Business
Types of business in Malaysia

Restaurant business

Restaurant business in Malaysia

We know that Malaysia is a tourist country many foreign tourists visit every year. Tourists visit to enjoy a vacation and ask after setting up business and/ or business meetings. The restaurant is the best business in Malaysia if you may start smartly. Our suggestion is to select a location where the restaurant will be taking place. The business location should be inside or near a crowded area, besides schools, markets, shopping malls, Condo & office areas. To remind, you have to take permission for a business license from SSM and Halal. You may hire multiple language knowledgeable staff to serve customers.

Child care

Child care in Malaysia

It is noticeable that taking care of a child is responsible whether father or mother but most of the family both are service holders. Who will take care of the child? To keep that in mind, child care turned out to be a good business in Malaysia. When considering business ideas at a limited spectrum, this is relatively a clever concept that can inspire small business investors to begin within Malaysia.


Laundry business in Malaysia

Another business that can be run on a brief scale in Malaysia is the Laundry business. So far it seems to be a success in this nation and has good demands. You may set up a business near a residential area where the demand for laundry is the most.

Coffee shop

Coffee shop in Malaysia

There is a lot of office-going people in Malaysia. After a tiring day at work, they might want to spend some quality time with colleagues at a coffee shop and enjoy a cup of coffee. This business can be easily profitable as the demand is high. If you can set up a coffee shop in a business location, you can get a regular customer base as the office going public will have the need to drink coffee.

Travel Agency

Travel Agency

Since Malaysia is a business center, many individuals visit it for business purposes. This adds up to opportunities to open doors for travel organizations. And organizations that offer services for travelers indirectly or directly. Along these lines, in the event that you are hoping to start a business in Malaysia. It brings idea to begin with a travel agency. It requires low capital, it’s anything but difficult to begin, and the profits are immense. This is a common small business idea in Malaysia.


Tourism in Malaysia

Malaysia plays host to a few a huge number of guests consistently. This leaves tremendous benefits made by investors in the nation’s tourism division. If the investor has prepared a big budget for opening a tourism business, they may build resorts or hotels. And offer their services to the tourist to invest again. Independent companies can likewise tap from the segment by offering products, services. And administrations that will help tourists as well. Along these lines, regardless of whether your financial plan is enormous or little. It can simply bring profit to Malaysia’s tourism division. It’s another small business idea that you can start and generate revenue.

Fashion company

Fashion business in Malaysia

Malaysians, similar to each other individuals, love fashion. They indicate awesomely and it helps them express what their personality is. In spite of the fact, there are many form outlets spread everywhere throughout the nation. There is enough space for new investors to make a profit in Malaysia. If by any chance investors pay interest in opening a fashion retail store, it is best to sell local design. As so, it is advisable to do research if you are not a native of Malaysia.

Foods and Snacks corner

Foods and Snacks business in Malaysia

Considering small business ideas in Malaysia, Food and snacks sell off pretty well in this country. This means that there are enormous open doors for organizations. It is open who show interest in selling fast foods or snacks such as yogurt, ice cream, or cakes. Beginning a nourishment business is simple and requires minimal capital. In this way, you will earn profit from this business whether local or foreign.

Check out the list of major food companies in Malaysia.

Micro-finance services 

Micro-finance service in Malaysia

New organizations, particularly private companies are springing up day by day in Malaysia. Furthermore, to continue operating in the long run, these organizations need financing. That aid can get from micro-finance banks or financial institutes. Along these lines, micro-finance business is definitely a good opportunity for businesses.  If you have the capital needed to open these types of services, you may start operating this business. Anyway, collect experience in banking and finance before starting the business.

Petroleum business

oil and gas seller in Malaysia

Daily usage items produced from oil and gas sell out well in Malaysia. Also, setting up this business does not need you to be a millionaire. In fact, it only requires a few thousand dollars to begin this business. With a couple of thousand dollars, you can be a retailer for different oil and gas items. Retailers, for example, kerosene and natural gas. What’s more is that, if you have a big capital, you may set up a filling gas station that will give you huge revenue.

Internet business

Internet Business in Malaysia

Many people are getting peace to accessible in online business now a day. Most of the students of undergrads and graduates are doing different online businesses. For example, businesses are web architecture, independent writers, and professional blogging.

Professional services

Professional Service in Malaysia

Many new independent ventures develop every single day. All organizations need the expertise of bookkeepers, Engineers, etc. to handle jobs. Whereas household demands are for workers such as painters, carpenters, woodworkers, plumbers, etc. Expertise guy can set up this business service and start earning profits. As a founder of a company at a small scale, you may start it if you are skilled with building tools and household utensils.

Smartphone and PC repair

Smart phone and PC Repair business in Malaysia

Almost everyone in this entire world contains a smartphone and a computer. This shows that the opportunity for businesses in fixing devices is huge. Individuals would prefer to repair their devices rather than discard them after damage. If you have a talent or experience for fixing gadgets, here’s a brilliant open door for you to make profit. Therefore, this can easily be a good small business idea in Malaysia.

Real estate materials retailers

Real estate materials retailers in Malaysia

Another great small business can be the all-round real estate sector. The real estate business itself may ask for a huge capital, but retailing raw materials for such a sector is way more convenient to start with. Moreover, the business turnout supposes to be impressive in this country, where infrastructure developments are highly prioritized. Such retail business usually evolves around construction raw materials ranging from bricks, sands, rods, woods steel, etc. to heavier machinery and building safety tools and utilities.

Aircon Service

Aircon Service

Malaysia is a tropical country. They mostly experience sunny days. Air conditioner is a must for every office and household in Malaysia for their tropical weather. As the country faces a humid weather, they use air conditioner often and that’s when the aircon service comes in play. If you use a mechanical appliance often, you will need someone to service it now and then. This business can be profitable of you can hold some permanent clients who requires regular servicing of their air conditioners in their home and mostly office as office users tend to use air conditioners more. Try to target the official areas as more clients can be found there. If you are good at the job, then there is no need for your customers to look elsewhere. They will just contact you regularly for your service.

MotorBike Service

Motor Bike Service

A large population in Malaysia uses motorcycles as their main transportation. As with any mechanical thing, motorbikes also require regular maintenance. If you set up a motorbike service shop in a busy location, chances are you will get a lot of customers. Regular customers will come to you if you provide a reasonable price and better service compared to your competitors. You can even make a cleaning sector in your shop for people who need to clean their bikes. Cleaning is required more often than regular servicing so this can be more profitable as you will have both services in your shop. You can even have branches of your shop to capture even more customers from different locations in Malaysia.

Cleaning Service

Cleaning Service

Some businesses are on a regular basis and this option falls among them. Cleaning services are on the rise as a lot of companies are starting up and the demand for the cleaning service is increasing. These services can include regular cleaning, weekly cleaning, or even monthly cleaning and provide services like post-construction cleaning and even pest cleaning. Pest cleaning is a more advanced procedure for cleaning and is not regular but there is more profit from this service. Catching customers should be the first priority.

Key Maker and Access Card

Key Maker and Access Card

Among the small business, this option can be the best for you. The market is not saturated and if you can make a name for yourself using marketing, the potential to get a lot of customers are a lot. And the best part is they will stay your customer as the market is not saturated with key makers. Access Cards are getting normal nowadays with just a card required to open any locked doors. However, these cards are easy to get lost, and making a duplicate can be time-consuming and hard. This is when your business comes to play. Being the access card and key maker, you can catch those customers and make a lot of profits.

Smokey Red Meat Food

Smokey Red Meat Food

Among the food varieties in Malaysia, smoked foods are the most popular. There is a huge demand in this market. Know the competitors who are already making a lot of profit from this food. Smoked food is basically the food, usually meat, that has been exposed to the smoke from burning of wood. The taste and smell become smokey and more delicious to eat. This food has a lot of demand and if you can open a restaurant with this category of food, there is a sure chance of getting recognition. Just focus on marketing and providing ways for the people of Malaysia to know about your food and restaurant.

Big Size Photocopy and Banner

Big Size Photocopy and Banner Business

You must be familiar with the photocopy and printing shops available across Malaysia. Those are common. But the need for printing and photocopy on large canvas or paper is a lot too. People often search for shops or services that print on large papers. Printing road signs or area map require large-scale printing. Setting up a printing press that prints on a large scale can be profitable and if you can capture a large audience and make a name for yourself, you can make it a regular income. New businesses are always being registered in Malaysia and those businesses require banners for their shops or office. They often must wait a long time to get their product. If you can provide them with the product in a very less time, then you will have a lot of customers that are loyal.

Business Card & Office Letterhead

Business Card & Office Letterhead

Business requires business cards and office letterhead. Every employee has a business card now. The printing press can print these business cards on a large scale for every employee and business owner. These businesses also have dedicated letterheads. Often with the name of their company name. The demand for these letterheads is a lot and requires constant printing as they can be used up fast. Setting up a business card & office letterhead business can be beneficial to both parties. You will get regular customers and profits can come easily.

Seal Business

Seal Business

Companies in Malaysia require a company seal. Usually after the registration of their company they search for shops or businesses that produce company seals. If you can set up a shop for this purpose, then you can get a lot of customers as company registration is common in Malaysia. It's not like this is a one-time business. Companies require this seal regularly for legal tasks and frequent use makes those seals bad. They will require more seals again. Having many customers can make this business profitable.

Other types of businesses in Malaysia

  • Electricians and refrigerator engineers supply.
  • Open super shop near busy place or inside of mall area.
  • Open fitness training center.
  • Gym and bar business.
  • Fruit and coffee shop.
  • Gents and lady’s parlor.
  • Property rent and sale agent.
  • Pet foods business.
  • Intercontinental food trades.
  • Printing, card, signboard & chop business.

Proprietorship & Sdn Bhd Business Registration Malaysia

Proprietorship and SDn Bhd business registration in Malaysia
Business registration Malaysia

There are two types of businesses that can register as law 1) Proprietorship 2) Sdn Bhd (Limited Liability). Local businessmen like to register proprietorship as easier and liability-free. On the other hand, Sdn Bhd business is wide open for locals and foreigners. One person is an all-in proprietorship business where no liability and freedom of business and business tax is the same as Sdn Bhd. No shares of the company are allocated in proprietorship companies whereas shares are purchased from Sdn Bhd as director and shareholder. Multiple (maximum 50) shareholders can buy shares of the company and perform duties as shareholders and directors by law. Tax & annual returns must submit by the time of Sdn Bhd companies same as proprietorship businesses.

Steps of business registration

  1. Name search
  2. Appoint company secretary by law
  3. Documents preparation
  4. Submit documents to SSM
  5. Receive business registration copies
  6. Make tenancy agreement
  7. Eligible to open bank account
  8. Signboard and premise license apply
  9. Apply for other licenses, if need, like export, import, WRT
  10. Apply for employment visa by ESD registration

Name search

To register a business name search is the first step as the name is the identity of every business. Ask Company Secretary to find names as proposed names if available. Each name search is costly, RM 50, and as a similar name is rejected always so be careful. Share directors’ detail, business activities, and propose names to reserve names through SSM. Business registration will startup after approval of the business name by SSM.

Appoint company secretary by law

To appoint a company secretary in every country is not mandatory but it is a must in Malaysia for Sdn Bhd businesses whereas proprietorship business is exempted. The company secretary is responsible to prepare documents for new business registration in Malaysia. A form is given to fill up and sign by the director (s) where basic information is asked for the name of directors, address, contact number, email, business nature, etc.

Documents preparation & submission

Secretary will submit all draft copies to SSM online after making payment of RM 1200 (approximately including name reservation). Maximum three nature of businesses can be added in one registered business as a policy of SSM. Secretary will receive notification if anything needs to change otherwise straight submission copies will be registered.

Receive business registration copies

Now business incorporation is completed, and incorporation, directors’ detail, and articles are ready to collect. Buy copies from Mydata SSM if need further forms for business purposes as all other forms are payable.

Tenancy agreement

The virtual address is used for most of the businesses initially that do not have a physical office. Now, it is the time to start a business so, a tenancy agreement is a must to be prepared with stumping. Sometimes, partial rent (sublease) is accepted by the bank but not fair.

Open bank account

Bank account opening as Malaysian is not an issue in local and foreign banks. But, the opening account is issued as a foreigner as the bank asks for a work permit and/ or residence copy. Do not worry as a foreigner, visit the office of S & F Consulting Firm Asia Sdn Bhd and consult with an expert. Account will be opened for sure (100%) without a work permit in foreign banks, HSBC, OCBC, UOB, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Signboard, premise, export, import, WRT license

DBKL and MBPJ provide signboard and premise license to put signboard of the business. It is an offense if the business is a startup with licenses and a penalty if a delay in renewal. To apply for export and import license must prepare documents as 1). Invoice 2). Business sample 3). Product detail information 4). Port selection. In terms of WRT application contact experts as the procedure is a bit complicated and time-consuming. Export-import and WRT license applications take around 3-4 months each.

ESD registration

To apply for a work and residence permit as businessmen must register the business through ESD. Follow instructions of application and arrange to support 9-10 number of papers. Contact S & F team to guide your registration of business and apply for a work permit.

Business registration in Malaysia is easier as anyone can open by a maximum of 5 working days. Bank account opening is easier too and manpower hiring is hassle-free. Being Malaysia is the business hub of Asia, the suitable environment for business to do and easier than Singapore. Roads, electricity, lands, ports, administration are excellent for business.


Can foreigners open a small business in Malaysia?

Yes! foreigners are allowed to start both small and large size ventures in Malaysia.

How can a foreigner start a small business in Malaysia?

As a foreigner you should follow the Steps below to register a company in Malaysia:

  • Company name approval.
  • Registering the business governed by SSM.
  • Hiring company secretary.
  • Collect business license, signboard license, WRT license, and Halal license.
  • Arrange premises agreements.
  • SOCSO and EPF.
  • Export/ import license (if required)
  • ESD registration and visa application.

Who is the responsible government body to register a company in Malaysia?

Malaysia Company Commission is better known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) is the responsible government body to register a company in Malaysia.

What are some most successful businesses?

Malaysian most profitable small businesses are:

  • Tourism business
  • Catering Services
  • IT Business
  • Business Consulting
  • Cleaning Services

What business is best to start in Malaysia?

There are lots of good business in Malaysia where you can invest. Some of the popular business are restaurant business, real-estate business, coffee shop, manufacturing industry, etc.

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Home based business opportunities in Malaysia

Business opportunities in Malaysia – best business to start for small investment

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How to start a low budget business in Malaysia 2020

Follow these easy steps for starting a Malaysian business.

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Topics you might find useful for registering a business:

Details about process of registering a company in Malaysia by SSM

Rules for company formation in Malaysia

All of business licenses in Malaysia - WRT, Import, Sign Board, GST, SOCSO


Company Registration Expert Since 2012