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In 2021, Malaysia ranked the 18th largest economy in Asia and the 39th largest economy worldwide. Clearly, the country is still behind the big players in the region. Still, according to Trade Map, it shipped US$299 billion worth of goods in 2021, a considerable increase from the US$234 billion reported for 2020. Indeed, Malaysia boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia Pacific, with a wide range of goods for export. Read on to learn how the country has turned into a thriving hub for small and medium-sized businesses for exporting.
Traditionally, the biggest importers in Asia are Mainland China and Japan, followed by Hong Kong, South Korea, India, and Singapore, as figures by Export Genius reveal.
Malaysia’s biggest trading partner would be China. According to an analysis by the World’s Top Exports, approximately 15.5% of Malaysia’s total exports go to China, which has a high value of US$46.3 US billion dollars. Following which would be Singapore (14%), the United States (11.5%), Hong Kong (6.2%), and Japan (6.1%).
While the economy of Malaysia relies mainly on its neighbouring countries, it also ships goods to North America and Europe. It’s worth noting that the United States is the third-largest destination for Malaysian products, with US$34.3 billion in value, the same analysis indicated.
Like the country’s traditional partners, Malaysia also has some consistent goods for export and import. In 2021, the top 10 products that buyers import from the nation accounted for 81.7% of the overall value of global shipments, as the aforementioned report by World Top Exports recorded.
Some of the fastest growers worth mentioning are aluminium (up by 92.9%) and miscellaneous chemical goods (52.2% gain). Others include rubber (49.8% acceleration) and optical, medical and technical apparatus (16.6% rise).
According to Statista, the value of the exported electronic and electrical goods in Malaysia in 2020 was around RM386.29 billion. From this, we can see that Malaysia’s most valued exports would be electronics and electrical goods. They make up a high percentage of Malaysia exports of 36%, followed by chemicals (7.1%), petroleum goods (7.0%), liquefied natural gas (6%), and palm oil (5.1%).
The import landscape isn’t very different in terms of partnering countries. The top list of imported goods includes mainly electrical parts and machinery (US$55 billion) and vehicles and accessories (US$48 billion). Other top imports include mineral fuels, oils, waxes, plastics, iron and steel and many more.
While there are some big gainers throughout the year, some of the most valuable goods cover tight niches in the exporting business. One of the most profitable revenue streams for Malaysian businesses is to produce and sell consumer electronics. The net export (7.9% gain since 2020) indicates the country’s solid competitive advantages involving lower prices and faster shipments.
To diversify manufacturing processes and spur engineering and technology adoption among SMEs, the government made the effort to push the local automotive industry to manufacture and export Malaysian-made parts and components.
The top exports by country analyses show a fair policy in Malaysia’s imports and exports. Undoubtedly, it profits mainly from the production of vehicles, various machinery and mineral fuels.
However, the country’s open to business with a wide range of destinations, which is specifically beneficial for smaller companies. Moreover, the government has actively supported small and medium enterprises to start a business in Malaysia, presenting profitable opportunities.
Undoubtedly, the country’s strategic location makes it easier for 24-hour shipments to Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore.