Malaysia a key focus for international firms eyeing expansion in Southeast Asia — HSBC
30 Oct 2023
Malaysia is a primary focus for international businesses looking to expand their footprint in Asean, with one in four international firms planning to expand into the country over the next two years, according to a survey by HSBC.
The HSBC Global Connections survey also found that 27% of businesses which already have operations in Malaysia plan to prioritise growth over the same period, the banking group said in a statement on Monday.
“Malaysia’s skilled workforce, rising consumer prosperity, and its network of free trade agreements are tied as the primary attractions for international firms doing business in market, with 28% respectively selecting these features of the market as making it attractive in business expansion,” it said.
Meanwhile, staffing quality, financial stability — including currency volatility, inflation, and interest rates — and the challenge of adapting to fast-moving regulatory and policy changes top the list of challenges, all tied at 31%, for international businesses operating in Malaysia, HSBC said.
HSBC Malaysia head of commercial banking Karel Doshi said Malaysia is leading the way in the Asean region and international businesses are increasingly optimistic about their growth prospects in Malaysia.
“For businesses, expanding their operations to Malaysia can unlock some incredible growth opportunities, but it does come with some challenges. Therefore, it is important to find an experienced partner with deep knowledge both on international and local (levels) to help them overcome these challenges,” she said.
The statement said international connectivity remains a competitive advantage for the country and HSBC Malaysia continues to strengthen its position as the only international bank that offers a full suite of products and services to government, companies and retail customers, connecting them to international opportunities, and connecting international businesses to opportunities in Malaysia.
The top three attractions for Asean, HSBC said, are its skilled workforce (27%), growing digital economy (26%) and competitive wages (25%).
Amanda Murphy, HSBC head of commercial banking for South and Southeast Asia, said Southeast Asia is an attractive manufacturing base, with increasingly advanced supply chains and a highly skilled workforce attracting global firms to the region.
“But the consumer story is also one to watch for international businesses as digital adoption and domestic spending power grow,” she added.