HSBC Navigator provides comprehensive insight into the now, next and how for business, representing the views of over 9,100 business decision-makers across 35 markets. This report gives an understanding of how businesses like yours can continue to grow now and in the future.

Increasingly affluent citizens are driving domestic demand

Malaysian businesses are optimistic about the outlook for the year ahead. The open, commodity-based economy is heavily skewed towards exports and is affected by current trade tensions and volatility in the crude oil price. However, robust domestic consumption and private sector activity is driving economic growth with Malaysia forecast to enter the ranks of high-income countries, as defined by the World Bank, by 2024. 

State of play

Transformative technology is changing business models

Growth expectations among Malaysian companies are strong. 81% of businesses forecast sales growth in the next year, largely through improved productivity and entering new markets. Investment in technology is also seen as crucial. Malaysia is above the global average when it comes to the high-growth firms that predict growth of 15% or more in the next year (Malaysia: 32%, Global: 26%). 

Along with Brazil, Malaysia is the country that anticipates the most impact from introducing transformative technologies. It's seen as one of the key drivers for growth by 42% of firms, along with new markets opening up (43%) and improving productivity (41%). Not surprisingly then, nearly three in five Malaysian companies (58%) expect their businesses to change totally or substantially in the next five years, ahead of the global average (50%). 

Confidence is not unanimous across Malaysian firms, with almost a third (31%) of companies more pessimistic about growth than a year ago. Their response is to employ strategies including expanding to new markets, investing in digital channels and improving product quality.

81 %

of businesses forecast sales growth in the next year, largely through improved productivity and entering new markets

Key contributors to expectations of sales growth over the next year

New markets opening up – global
New markets opening up – Malaysia
Transformative technologies in your sector – global
Transformative technologies in your sector – Malaysia
Improving your business’ productivity – global
Improving your business’ productivity – Malaysia

Global Malaysia  
Investing in technology 32% 36%  
Introducing new products/services 30% 34%  
Quality and availability of suppliers and raw materials 27% 34%  
Quality and availability of skills in your workforce 24% 32%  
Improvements in logistics and transportation 24% 26%  

What you need to know

  1. 1

    31% of Malaysian companies are more pessimistic about their growth prospects than they were a year ago – considerably more downbeat than the global average (18%).

  2. 2

    Malaysia is a strong advocate for expanding digital platforms to combat potential business declines – 27% of firms plan to do so compared to 18% globally.

  3. 3

    Optimism is greatest among Malaysia’s domestic operators (62%) and services firms (54%) now compared to 12 months ago.

What your business can do

  • Invest in new technologies and digital platforms to remain competitive – 42% of companies see transformative technologies as a driver of growth. 

  • Improve the quality of your goods or services to proactively combat threats to business. This is a preferred strategy for 35% of Malaysian businesses.