Market profile

Malaysia is Australia’s 10th largest trading partner with close to A$20 billion in two-way trade in goods and services (DFAT 2016). We share a free trade agreement, the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA), and are both signatories to the Trans Pacific Partnership. More than 3,800 companies export to Malaysia and approximately 300 Australian businesses have an in-country presence (Source: ABS 2016 and Austrade 2016).

Economic growth has led to a significant increase in Malaysia’s per capita income over the past decade. By 2020, more than 60 per cent of the population will fall into the middle / upper-middle income category. Malaysia is in the ‘demographic sweet spot’ - a growing population (many of which are under 30), who are becoming more urbanised, with growing disposable incomes and easy access to credit. These more affluent and sophisticated consumers are demanding greater product choice, better quality brands and higher standards of service, presenting significant opportunities for suppliers of high-end goods and services.

Malaysia is competing fiercely with other countries in the region to provide a pro-business environment. To this end the government has relaxed foreign ownership laws in the manufacturing sector and has also implemented a range of incentives to attract investors in priority areas such as operational headquarters, regional distribution centres and international procurement centres. It has also recently implemented liberalisation actions within the financial services sector to attract more international players to operate within the market.

Malaysia is an ideal springboard to South East Asia given its central location to high growth markets in the region. Home to a market of more than 620 million people, ASEAN has a larger population than the European Union or North America (Source: United Nations 2015). A growing middle income and immense purchasing power all point to ASEAN as the second fastest-growing economy in Asia behind China. The region has an expected annual GDP growth of 6 per cent through to 2019 (Source: Frost & Sullivan 2016).

Malaysia’s 2020 vision is to achieve developed nation status. The government plans and manages its progress towards achieving this vision through five-year plans.

More information on doing business in Malaysia

Why ASEAN and why now?

Why ASEAN and why now? Insights for Australian Business. A joint Austrade-DFAT publication examining Australia’s trade relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the opportunities and challenges for Australian business engaging with the region and the future of the Australia-ASEAN trade relationship.

Access the publication

Malaysia's market insights and opportunities

Read video transcript


  • Imports from Malaysia A$11,109 million
  • Exports to Malaysia A$7,966 million
  • Capital Kuala Lumpur
  • Official Language Malay
  • Area 328,550 sq km
  • Population 31 million

Country information provided by DFAT

Country brief

A comprehensive overview of political, economic and bilateral and regional trade agreements.

» read more at DFAT

Trade and economic fact sheet

Containing general information, recent economic indicators, Australia’s trade and investment relationship with Malaysia and their global merchandise trade relationship that is updated twice a year.

» read more at DFAT


Australia's trade at a glanceAustralia's top ten trading partners

Free Trade Agreement

Information on Trade Agreements in force and in negotiation, plus market videos detailing insights and opportunities.

» read more at DFAT

Business risks

Bribery of Foreign Officials

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a voluntary mechanism which promotes and supports improved governance in resource-rich countries through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining.

The EITI is supported by governments, industry, and non-government organisations around the world. The Australian Government supports the EITI and encourages Australian companies operating internationally to comply with its recommendations.

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Multinational Enterprises should be aware of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business behaviour in a variety of areas, consistent with applicable domestic laws. These Guidelines are endorsed and promoted by the Australian Government.

APEC Business Travel Card Scheme

Managed by the Department of Immigration, the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme was developed to make travelling within the 21 APEC member countries much simpler and more efficient.

Are you ready to export?

Austrade’s International Readiness Indicator.

An online tool for new exporters that has been designed to help Australian businesses determine whether their business is ready for exporting.

Test Your Readiness

Become an Austrade member

Here are some benefits of being a member:

  • Create email alerts
  • Quick event registration
  • Set country and industry preferences

Join Austrade Today

Export grants

Need help with preparing and lodging your application? We can provide independent consultants to assist.

EMDG applications can be lodged by approved consultants.

Visit the Consultants page

How Austrade can help

Austrade provides information, advice and range of trade services to assist Australian businesses reduce the time, cost and risk associated with exporting.

Help from Austrade