Quick Guide to starting foreign-owned company in Malaysia

Quick Guide to starting foreign-owned company in Malaysia

If you want to set-up a company that is 100% foreign owned in Malaysia, the type of company you’re setting-up should be the “Malaysian Sdn Bhd”. Here’s a quick overview of starting a foreign-owned company in Malaysia (Also see Agencies that provide funding for Malaysian start-ups).

Industries Which Allows 100% Foreign Ownership

Before you set up a company (Also see Pros and cons of setting up a company), you need to be sure that the industry you will be entering allows 100% foreign-ownership.

Some of the liberalised sectors are data processing services, database services, veterinary services, theme parks, 4 and 5 star hotels and restaurants, international procurement services and vessel salvage and refloating services.

On the other hand, foreigners are not encouraged to create businesses related to Renewable Energy, Supermarkets and minimarkets, furniture, Herbal products, hair salons and laundry shops.

Business Prerequisites

Malaysian Company Sdn Bhd must qualify for the work permit necessary. Starting a foreign-owned company in Malaysia requires a minimum paid-in capital of RM500,000 for advisory and consultancy services and RM1,000,000 for import, export, restaurant and trading businesses.

Furthermore, the business should have a clear benefit to the Malaysian economy and should bring jobs to the country.

Company Name

All 100% foreign-owned companies will have the suffix “Sdn Bhd” on their company name. So, for example, if the business name is Pharnex, then, your official name would be Pharnex Sdn Bhd in Malaysia. Sdn Bhd means “Private Limited” (Also see Types of business structures in Malaysia).

The business is required to use its official name on all of its official documents, business cards and correspondences. You are also required to always indicate your Company Registration number.

Work Permit

As the owner, you are required to obtain your 2-year Malaysia Work Permit (DP10). This work permit needs approval from relevant regulatory bodies. For example, the Central Bank of Malaysia will endorse permits for financial, insurance and banking sectors.

Generally, it’s much harder to get DP10 permits for newly set-up companies.


There are lots of requirements for starting a foreign-owned company in Malaysia. If you’re not yet sure what to do, there are corporate secretary service in Johor Bahru available to help you out.

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