Starting A Business In Kuala Lumpur: 6 Things To Know

Most entrepreneurially-minded people and prospective small business owners will find the idea of starting a business in the bustling commercial environment of Malaysia hard to resist. As a center of trade, cultivation, manufacturing and culture for decades, the economy has flourished over time, especially in the last few decades, particularly the 90s where thousands of businesses were set up and have flourished over the years. If you are thinking of starting a business in Kuala Lumpur, here are some of the main things to be aware of before you get started. 

Getting to know the country

Before starting your business in Kuala Lumpur, it’s important to spend some time getting to know Malaysia and doing your research into the types of businesses that are most likely to succeed here. If you are still new to or unfamiliar with the country, it’s not a good time to jump straight into anything. Spend some time getting to know gaps in the market, learning about your target customers, and the type of competition that you are likely to face when starting your business in Kuala Lumpur. 

Commercial property

While commercial property is available to rent, there are some cases where you might want to think about purchasing a commercial property of your own for your business. However, if you are an overseas investor looking to start a business in Kuala Lumpur, it’s worth being aware of the minimum investment requirements in place for foreign buyers, which vary between different areas. In Kuala Lumpur, as a foreign investor you will need to be prepared to spend at least RM1 million on residential or commercial property. You can find properties for sale or rent at PropertyGuru. PropertyGuru is the number one property search and comparison site for Malaysia, used by both locals and overseas buyers looking for residential or commercial buildings to buy. If you’re considering living in Malaysia while running your business in Kuala Lumpur, you can use this site to find stunning residential homes like this desa park city house for sale. 

Finding a business idea

It’s worth taking the time to do your research into Kuala Lumpur to ensure that you have found a viable business idea that is likely to do well. Doing plenty of investigation into the area and speaking to lots of different people will help you get a better idea of which business types are the most likely to succeed in this city. It will help you to find a correlation between your passions, interests, and skills and what there is currently a demand for in the city. 


Once you have some ideas of potential businesses to start, it is important to ensure that, as a foreigner, you will be permitted to start any of these business types. The government in Malaysia does impose some restrictions on the type of business industries that foreigners are able to start a company in. However, these are quite limited and the good news is that there are many different industries and fields that foreigners are fully permitted to start a company in of any size. If you want to find out more, you may benefit from working with a local accounting firm or business consultancy. 

Registering your business

It is important to note that as a foreign entrepreneur, you will not be permitted to start an unlimited company, sole proprietor company, enterprise, LLP or partnership in Malaysia. You will only be permitted to start a business that is a private limited company or a Sendirian Berhad, which is a standard Malaysian Private Limited Company. Foreigners can also start an international off-shore Labaun International Company (LIC) which comes with a range of special features and has fewer prerequisites compared to other company types. It can be owned 100% by foreigners and requires the lowest start-up capital for running your international business in Malaysia. 

Laws and customs

Finally, once you have narrowed down your business ideas based on the above, it’s important to spend some time getting to know more about business laws, taxation, customs and more in Malaysia. You will need to know about the labor laws in Malaysia, local council regulations for Kuala Lumpur, and permits that you will be required to obtain from the government bodies, authorities and agencies that apply to the specific business that you want to start. Since the business laws here might be different in many ways to what you are used to at home, and there are some different laws that will apply specifically to foreign business owners in Malaysia, it’s a wise idea to obtain professional help in this area. 

Starting your own business in the vibrant and bustling city of Kuala Lumpur can be an ideal choice for an ambitious international entrepreneur. Before getting started, be sure to consider all these important factors to get your business off to the best start. 

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