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Malaysia is an important trading nation with a focus on services, raw materials and electronic goods. 13 percent of the country’s employment lies in the agricultural and forestry sector, 17 percent in construction and 9 percent in industry. The largest proportion of employment lies with the services sector at 60 percent, where more than 80 percent of the net employment growth was generated in 2014.
Malaysia produces about 0.7 percent of the global crude oil and 2 percent of the natural gas. (BP Statistical Review of World Energy) Malaysia is one of the largest palm oil and rubber producers in the world. While palm oil is exported either as bio-fuel, as well as an ingredient of cosmetics and foods, a majority of the Malaysian rubber production is utilized by the domestic market in the fields of tire manufacture and latex products.
The majority of the government revenues came in 2014 came from the the oil and gas business in 2014 (30 percent), in particular from payments made by state-owned oil and gas company Petronas.
Malaysia's continuing economic boom has been slowed down by the sharp fall in oil prices and the weak economic growth in China and other emerging economies. While the economy was growing at a rate in excess of 6 percent until 2014, it slid down to 4.5 percent in 2015 with a positive momentum being maintained by the domestic market and foreign investment. The GDP of the country was 313 billion USD in 2014, leading to a per capita figure of 10,538 USD.
The unemployment rate in Malaysia is about 3 percent as of 2014, a very favorable figure. The percentage of inflation was 3 percent for the same period. However, it is slated to increase in the wake of a devaluing Malaysian Ringgit and the imposition of the Goods and Services Tax.
Malaysia is very export-oriented and has been actively involved, as a full member of World Trade Organisation, ASEAN and APEC, in the reduction of trade barriers. The foreign trade volume is equivalent to 1.6 times the gross national product of the country. Thus, the domestic economy is also dependent on demand in the main foreign markets. According to Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development Agency) the main exports of the country are electronic goods (33 percent), oil and oil products (13.6 percent), LNG (8.3 percent), chemical products (6.7 percent) and palm oil (6.1 percent). Main trading partners include the ASEAN countries, Pakistan, India, China and the US.
Why invest in Malaysia?
- Malaysia is fuelling economic growth though the development of intra-country economic corridors. They are targeted to reduce existing disparities between regions. Some of the chief ones are "East Coast Economic Region" (ECER), the "Iskandar Malaysia", the "Northern Corridor Economic Region" (NCER), the "Sabah Development Corridor" (SDC), and the "Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy" (SCORE).
- Malaysia is also located at the heart of the ASEAN bloc and consequently gives ready access to a huge market of 600 million people.
- Malaysia has one of the lowest corporate tax rates among major world economies out of the Eurozone, at 25 percent. For comparison, India has 34 percent, Australia, 30 percent and the US, 40 percent.
- Malaysia’s domestic economy is fuelled by demand from a population whose disposable income is growing rapidly over the years. Thus providing thriving opportunities for the provision of consumer services and goods.
- Malaysia has one of the most productive workforces in the world. It ranked 19th out of 144 countries in labor market efficiency.