• How to Export Products to Malaysia: An Overview

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    Malaysia has a developed eCommerce market that has accelerated during the COVID pandemic. With a market value of around MYR30.2, the eCommerce market is set to increase to MYR 51.6 until 2024.

    Malaysia has a GDP per capita that puts it above its neighboring countries (excluding Singapore), resulting in a comparably high local purchasing power. That’s one of the reasons why Malaysia is interesting for overseas sellers.

    In this article, we review the following topics:

    • Which products are in demand in Taiwan?
    • Top eCommerce Platforms
    • Trade Fairs for Exporters
    • Shipping & Fulfillment

    Which products are in demand in Malaysia?

    Here, we take a look at the most popular products among Malaysians that buy online. With a wide range of eCommerce platforms available (more about that later), there are plenty of products sold online, but where a few categories stand out.

    Let’s start with the most popular product category.

    Electronics and Media Products

    Electronics and media products are bought in great numbers, something that I explained in my separate article, ‘Top Selling Products on Lazada’. In 2019, the following products were most popular in the country and on the website:

    • Mobile phones and tablets
    • Cables and converts
    • Microsoft devices
    • Taobao clothing, shoes, and accessories
    • Xiaomi consumer electronics
    • Watsons products
    • Fashion goods
    • Home appliances
    • Health and Beauty items
    • Lenovo devices

    As you can see, five of the top 10 products all belong to this product category. That said, we also see well-known brands like Microsoft, Lenovo, and Xiaomi devices that are sold by the brand owners or by local merchants.

    Other brands that often end up in search queries include Samsung, OPPO, and Huawei. Most of the product categories belonging to these brands are of course cellphones, but also computers.

    Other popular electronic products and gadgets include USB drives, power banks, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and flatscreen TVs.

    Fashion and Beauty Products

    Fashion and beauty products are some of the most popular products in Malaysia. Yet, by searching on for example “Fashion” on Lazada, you’ll see that many products are imported from China.

    Besides, by searching on brands like Gucci you can notice that many products are fake due to the low prices. I’m quite surprised that there are so many fake products available on the biggest eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia, but maybe Lazada will take more stringent measures in the future.

    The Malaysians also love accessories such as bow ties, sunglasses, pocket squares, and cufflinks. There are plenty of opportunities for sellers of clothing to enter Asian eCommerce markets.

    Food and Beverages

    Lazada doesn’t allow merchants to sell food and beverages through cross-border eCommerce. The logistics costs are comparably high, so this isn’t an option for many overseas sellers anyway.

    Instead, your best option is probably to import the products into Malaysia. This requires that you register the products with relevant authorities before you import them. You also have to comply with local labeling regulations.

    By doing a quick search on Lazada, you’ll notice that products such as canned food, noodles, seasoning, and soups. However, any kinds of food products can be found here, including premium Foie Gras, chicken, and pumpkins, just to give you a few examples.

    Mom & Baby

    Diapers were the top-selling products in Malaysia in 2018, not surprisingly, mom and baby products are in high demand in the country.

    However, if you plan to sell cross-border online, it’s generally prohibited to sell supplements and food products, at least on the major eCommerce platforms. Thus, you won’t be able to sell products like baby formula and vitamins cross-border.

    Entering the Malaysian offline market can be a challenging task as the mom and baby market is often dominated by larger brands, including Nestle, Danone, and the list goes on. It can be both time-consuming and expensive.

    Of course, stringent import regulations apply as these products are not only edible by humans, by also used among infants and babies.

    With that said, you can find many other mom and baby products sold cross-border, including sun blockers, baby oils, shampoos, and more.

    Top eCommerce Platforms in Malaysia

    Over the years, many eCommerce marketplaces have popped up in Malaysia and where Lazada has taken a dominant position. In this section, we review the most popular eCommerce platforms in Malaysia and what sets these apart.

    Lazada

    Lazada was founded in 2012 and is currently owned by Alibaba, one of the biggest companies in China. They also own Tmall, the biggest eCommerce marketplace in China.

    Lazada has, thanks to many funding rounds and an aggressive marketing strategy, been able to become a dominant eCommerce platform in the region. Thanks to its modern interface (available in local languages and English), advanced payment solutions (including cash-on-delivery), and vast product assortments, the website has become one of the most popular.

    Selling on Lazada is easy and the setup and running fees are minuscule compared to that of China. Besides, there are plenty of Lazada agencies available that charge comparatively low fees to set up and run stores on behalf of local and cross-border eCommerce sellers.

    Lazada will most likely be the first website where you open and run your first eCommerce store in Malaysia. I also recommend you to read my separate article that explains how you can start selling on Lazada as a foreigner.

    Lelong

    Lelong is a local eCommerce platform in Malaysia that has grown much over the years. The founders have 29 years of experience in eCommerce and the website is operated under Interbase Resources Sdn Bhd.

    Other websites owned by the brand include Lmall.my, Pretty.my, and Superbuy.my. You can find various kinds of product categories sold on Lelong, including:

    • Mobiles, IT & Gadgets
    • Electronics & Appliances
    • Home & Gardening
    • Health & Beauty
    • Toys, Kids & Baby
    • Automotive
    • Fashion & Accessories
    • Watches
    • Sports & Outdoors
    • Food & Beverages
    • Business & Industrial

    Shopee

    Shopee is one of the greatest competitors to Lazada and Tencent, one of China’s biggest companies, has a large stake in the company. It’s evident that the competition between Alibaba and Tencent has moved overseas and is not only evident in the Chinese market.

    Compared to Lazada, Shopee is more of a C2C website, but it has moved closer to becoming a pure B2C website. It’s currently available in 8 Asian countries and is mainly known for offering shipping services free of charge.

    Even if Lazada is the most popular eCommerce website in most Southeast Asian countries, Shopee follows closely behind and often snaps the second spot. Product categories available on Shopee are similar to that of Lazada.

    Sellers and buyers have multiple payment options available, including:

    • Online banking transfer
    • ATM transfer
    • Credit card payment
    • Debit card payment
    • Over-the-counter payments
    • Cash on Delivery (COD)

    To claim that Shopee is here to stay in the coming years would be an understatement.

    Trade Fairs for Exporters

    If you plan to sell offline in Malaysia, it can be worthwhile to visit a couple of trade fairs. Not only will you be able to learn more about the local market, but also network, promote your brand, and connect with experienced business persons.

    There are plenty of trade fairs available in Malaysia, below we have listed to of the biggest ones.

    Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair

    Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair is the biggest food trade fair that attracts thousands of visitors.

    During the last session, as many as 21,000 visitors coming from 70 different countries attended the event. The product categories on focus include food & beverage, halal food, seafood & fishery products, and it also welcomes start-ups.

    Most of the foreign companies that attend the show are Chinese, but you’ll also find companies from other countries.

    Futurebuild Southeast Asia

    Futurebuild Southeast Asia is generally held in June each year and focuses on construction equipment and products. In 2019, as many as 16,781 visitors went to the fair, attending 100 seminars and conferences. 339 companies participated in the fair and exhibiting their products, including market leads like Caterpillar.

    Everything from property developers, manufacturers, consultants, designers, and contractors visit the fair, coming from Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam.

    Shipping & Fulfillment

    Determining how you should store and ship your products is not always an easy task and logistics fees account for a large part of the product costs. First of all and before choosing a shopping model, you have to understand whether you will sell the products online, offline, or both.

    Worth mentioning is also that you don’t have to stick with just one shipping option but can choose different shipping modes for each sales channel. Below I have listed the most commonly used shipping options among sellers.

    Overseas Fulfillment

    Overseas fulfillment simply relates to the shipping mode where you store the products overseas, often in Singapore or Hong Kong, and later ship the products cross-border into Malaysia.

    This is common among eCommerce sellers that don’t want to import the products into Malaysia, might it be due to regulatory, cost, or time-related issues.

    Overseas fulfillment is generally more expensive than local fulfillment due to higher labor costs and shipping fees. By importing the products into Malaysia first, you can both reduce shipping lead times and logistics costs.

    With that said, overseas fulfillment can be suitable for companies that just want to stick to cross-border eCommerce or try out the market.

    Well-known fulfillment companies in Singapore and Hong Kong include:

    • Easyship
    • Storkup
    • Floship
    • Stashwork
    • Whitebox

    For more information, you can contact them directly and request a quotation and more information about their services.

    Local Fulfillment

    Your second option is to import the products into Malaysia and store them in a local fulfillment center. This is typical for sellers that operate online but don’t sell cross-border. You see, websites like Lazada centralize their fulfillment operations to Hong Kong.

    This is not the case for local sales, whatsoever.

    The benefit of storing the products within Malaysia is that you can reduce shipping costs significantly. This will give you an advantage in terms of pricing as you can reduce the price to final end-customers.

    Not to forget, by importing the products into Malaysia you can use more sales channels, offering your products both in physical bricks & mortars stores but also online.

    There are various local fulfillment companies available in Malaysia, including brands such as TresGo, iStoreiSend, and uParcel.

    Electronics and Media Products

    Electronics and media products are bought in great numbers, something that I explained in my separate article, ‘Top Selling Products on Lazada’. In 2019, the following products were most popular in the country and on the website:

    • Mobile phones and tablets
    • Cables and converts
    • Microsoft devices
    • Taobao clothing, shoes, and accessories
    • Xiaomi consumer electronics
    • Watsons products
    • Fashion goods
    • Home appliances
    • Health and Beauty items
    • Lenovo devices

    As you can see, five of the top 10 products all belong to this product category. That said, we also see well-known brands like Microsoft, Lenovo, and Xiaomi devices that are sold by the brand owners or by local merchants.

    Other brands that often end up in search queries include Samsung, OPPO, and Huawei. Most of the product categories belonging to these brands are of course cellphones, but also computers.

    Other popular electronic products and gadgets include USB drives, power banks, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and flatscreen TVs.

    Fashion and Beauty Products

    Fashion and beauty products are some of the most popular products in Malaysia. Yet, by searching on for example “Fashion” on Lazada, you’ll see that many products are imported from China.

    Besides, by searching on brands like Gucci you can notice that many products are fake due to the low prices. I’m quite surprised that there are so many fake products available on the biggest eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia, but maybe Lazada will take more stringent measures in the future.

    The Malaysians also love accessories such as bow ties, sunglasses, pocket squares, and cufflinks. There are plenty of opportunities for sellers of clothing to enter Asian eCommerce markets.

    Food and Beverages

    Lazada doesn’t allow merchants to sell food and beverages through cross-border eCommerce. The logistics costs are comparably high, so this isn’t an option for many overseas sellers anyway.

    Instead, your best option is probably to import the products into Malaysia. This requires that you register the products with relevant authorities before you import them. You also have to comply with local labeling regulations.

    By doing a quick search on Lazada, you’ll notice that products such as canned food, noodles, seasoning, and soups. However, any kinds of food products can be found here, including premium Foie Gras, chicken, and pumpkins, just to give you a few examples.

    Mom & Baby

    Diapers were the top-selling products in Malaysia in 2018, not surprisingly, mom and baby products are in high demand in the country.

    However, if you plan to sell cross-border online, it’s generally prohibited to sell supplements and food products, at least on the major eCommerce platforms. Thus, you won’t be able to sell products like baby formula and vitamins cross-border.

    Entering the Malaysian offline market can be a challenging task as the mom and baby market is often dominated by larger brands, including Nestle, Danone, and the list goes on. It can be both time-consuming and expensive.

    Of course, stringent import regulations apply as these products are not only edible by humans, by also used among infants and babies.

    With that said, you can find many other mom and baby products sold cross-border, including sun blockers, baby oils, shampoos, and more.

    If you want to read more about the most popular product categories sold on Lazada in various Southeast Asian, I recommend you to read this article.

    Top eCommerce Platforms in Malaysia

    Over the years, many eCommerce marketplaces have popped up in Malaysia and where Lazada has taken a dominant position. In this section, we review the most popular eCommerce platforms in Malaysia and what sets these apart.

    Lazada

    Lazada was founded in 2012 and is currently owned by Alibaba, one of the biggest companies in China. They also own Tmall, the biggest eCommerce marketplace in China.

    Lazada has, thanks to many funding rounds and an aggressive marketing strategy, been able to become a dominant eCommerce platform in the region. Thanks to its modern interface (available in local languages and English), advanced payment solutions (including cash-on-delivery), and vast product assortments, the website has become one of the most popular.

    Selling on Lazada is easy and the setup and running fees are minuscule compared to that of China. Besides, there are plenty of Lazada agencies available that charge comparatively low fees to set up and run stores on behalf of local and cross-border eCommerce sellers.

    Lazada will most likely be the first website where you open and run your first eCommerce store in Malaysia. I also recommend you to read my separate article that explains how you can start selling on Lazada as a foreigner.

    Lelong

    Lelong is a local eCommerce platform in Malaysia that has grown much over the years. The founders have 29 years of experience in eCommerce and the website is operated under Interbase Resources Sdn Bhd.

    Other websites owned by the brand include Lmall.my, Pretty.my, and Superbuy.my. You can find various kinds of product categories sold on Lelong, including:

    • Mobiles, IT & Gadgets
    • Electronics & Appliances
    • Home & Gardening
    • Health & Beauty
    • Toys, Kids & Baby
    • Automotive
    • Fashion & Accessories
    • Watches
    • Sports & Outdoors
    • Food & Beverages
    • Business & Industrial

    Shopee

    Shopee is one of the greatest competitors to Lazada and Tencent, one of China’s biggest companies, has a large stake in the company. It’s evident that the competition between Alibaba and Tencent has moved overseas and is not only evident in the Chinese market.

    Compared to Lazada, Shopee is more of a C2C website, but it has moved closer to becoming a pure B2C website. It’s currently available in 8 Asian countries and is mainly known for offering shipping services free of charge.

    Even if Lazada is the most popular eCommerce website in most Southeast Asian countries, Shopee follows closely behind and often snaps the second spot. Product categories available on Shopee are similar to that of Lazada.

    Sellers and buyers have multiple payment options available, including:

    • Online banking transfer
    • ATM transfer
    • Credit card payment
    • Debit card payment
    • Over-the-counter payments
    • Cash on Delivery (COD)

    To claim that Shopee is here to stay in the coming years would be an understatement.

    Trade Fairs for Exporters

    If you plan to sell offline in Malaysia, it can be worthwhile to visit a couple of trade fairs. Not only will you be able to learn more about the local market, but also network, promote your brand, and connect with experienced business persons.

    There are plenty of trade fairs available in Malaysia, below we have listed to of the biggest ones.

    Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair

    Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair is the biggest food trade fair that attracts thousands of visitors.

    During the last session, as many as 21,000 visitors coming from 70 different countries attended the event. The product categories on focus include food & beverage, halal food, seafood & fishery products, and it also welcomes start-ups.

    Most of the foreign companies that attend the show are Chinese, but you’ll also find companies from other countries.

    Futurebuild Southeast Asia

    Futurebuild Southeast Asia is generally held in June each year and focuses on construction equipment and products. In 2019, as many as 16,781 visitors went to the fair, attending 100 seminars and conferences. 339 companies participated in the fair and exhibiting their products, including market leads like Caterpillar.

    Everything from property developers, manufacturers, consultants, designers, and contractors visit the fair, coming from Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam.

    Shipping & Fulfillment

    Determining how you should store and ship your products is not always an easy task and logistics fees account for a large part of the product costs. First of all and before choosing a shopping model, you have to understand whether you will sell the products online, offline, or both.

    Worth mentioning is also that you don’t have to stick with just one shipping option but can choose different shipping modes for each sales channel. Below I have listed the most commonly used shipping options among sellers.

    Overseas Fulfillment

    Overseas fulfillment simply relates to the shipping mode where you store the products overseas, often in Singapore or Hong Kong, and later ship the products cross-border into Malaysia.

    This is common among eCommerce sellers that don’t want to import the products into Malaysia, might it be due to regulatory, cost, or time-related issues.

    Overseas fulfillment is generally more expensive than local fulfillment due to higher labor costs and shipping fees. By importing the products into Malaysia first, you can both reduce shipping lead times and logistics costs.

    With that said, overseas fulfillment can be suitable for companies that just want to stick to cross-border eCommerce or try out the market.

    Well-known fulfillment companies in Singapore and Hong Kong include:

    • Easyship
    • Storkup
    • Floship
    • Stashwork
    • Whitebox

    For more information, you can contact them directly and request a quotation and more information about their services.

    Local Fulfillment

    Your second option is to import the products into Malaysia and store them in a local fulfillment center. This is typical for sellers that operate online but don’t sell cross-border. You see, websites like Lazada centralize their fulfillment operations to Hong Kong.

    This is not the case for local sales, whatsoever.

    The benefit of storing the products within Malaysia is that you can reduce shipping costs significantly. This will give you an advantage in terms of pricing as you can reduce the price to final end-customers.

    Not to forget, by importing the products into Malaysia you can use more sales channels, offering your products both in physical bricks & mortars stores but also online.

    There are various local fulfillment companies available in Malaysia, including brands such as TresGo, iStoreiSend, and uParcel.


  • Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided for general information about exporting products to Asia, e-commerce platforms, logistics, regulations, taxes, and other related topics. However, we don't guarantee that we keep the content up to date or that it's free from error. We do make mistakes from time to time. We never provide legal advice of any sort.

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