The industry became the country’s eleventh largest export earner in 2017, making up approximately RM15.3 billion (1.6%) to Malaysia’s total exports of manufactured goods. The USA was still the leading export market for Malaysia’s textile products, purchasing RM2.2 billion (14.6%) of the industry’s total exports, followed by Japan and Turkey.
Competition from developing economies with lower production costs, such as the PRC, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, has spurred manufacturers to push up the value chain, by developing and improving processes, focusing on higher value-added products, and improving efficiency through automation. This also entails increasing product quality, placing an emphasis on new designs and product differentiation.
In 2017, a total of RM428.8 million in investments across 12 projects were approved in the textiles and textile products industry. Foreign investors took the lead, bringing in RM322.3 million (75.2%). Domestic investments accounted for the other RM106.5 million (24.8%). Approved investments were concentrated in the production of primary textiles with eight projects (RM389.9 million). The production of ready-to-wear garments had three projects approved (RM33.8 million), while one project worth RM5.1 million was approved in the textile accessories sub-sector. These projects generated a total of 1,850 employment opportunities, which include skilled positions for engineers, quality controllers, and highly skilled technicians.