A special report by the French Trade Commission - Business France Malaysia (March 2019)


In 2017, Malaysia welcomed a total of 26 million international tourists and recorded a 0.1% growth in tourism receipts, representing a contribution of EUR 7.4 billion to the country's income. In 2018, Malaysia received 26.8 million tourists, a slight increase of 3.4% compared to 2017 (26 million) with revenues of about 18.35 billion EUR, 3.4% more than last year.
28.1 million tourists are expected for 2019 generating EUR 20.1 billion in revenue.

All promotional efforts will culminate with the planned "Visit Malaysia 2020" campaign in the year 2020 to achieve the ultimate goal of the country, namely 36 million tourist arrivals and revenue of EUR 35.6 billion.
In addition to being ranked among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world, Malaysia has also been recognized as the 5th largest travel destination in the world by Expedia UK 2016 and the "medical travel destination of the year" for the third year in a row at the International Medical Travel Awards 2017.

Malaysia receives a majority of tourists from Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand and Brunei. Almost half of the visitors are Singaporeans. Because of the history of the two countries, their proximity, and much cheaper prices in Malaysia, many Singaporeans travel to Malaysia for holidays, short business trips, and weekends.

Malaysia enjoys a strategic location and easy access to 60 international airlines and more than 100 destinations. The country has a stable political situation, a high-quality infrastructure, first-class accommodation, and competitively priced services.



The development of halal tourism makes Malaysia a preferred destination for many Muslims.

Medical tourism is one of the key segments of development for the country. The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council serves as a one-stop shop for all matters related to health travel, including helping travellers with inquiries on health care promotion policies and programs.

Malaysia wants to become a filming destination by producing film sequences for filmmakers, on demand, as well as providing still images from Malaysia to filmmakers during the storyboard stage.

Agritourism is a tourism concept that is rapidly gaining popularity in Malaysia as it offers tourists an assortment of activities related to the agricultural sector. Malaysia is a country rich in agricultural resources.
In fact, the agricultural sector has been the backbone of the Malaysian economy for many years

Among the agritourism activities that have proven popular are visits to orchards and farms, research centres and homestays.



Malaysia is developing a number of tourist attractions such as Ipoh's Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS), Premium Shopping Outlets, the development of the Desaru Coast, and the upcoming 20th Century Fox World theme park in Genting Highlands.

2,264 hotels are registered and listed by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) as 1- to 5-star hotels, 20 of which are classified as green hotels.

A large number of hotel projects can be expected in Malaysia:

  • Hyatt Place Melaka, 2019
  • Fairmont Residences and Hotel, 2020
  • Kempinski Hotel and Residences, 2020
  • Crown Plaza Hotel, 2021

To develop the tourism industry, the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) provides mortgage assistance through the Tourism Development Infrastructure Fund (TDIF) under the Malaysian Development Bank (BPMB).

The Government of Malaysia has created the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to attract foreign investment and serve as a focal point for legal and regulatory issues.
Organized within the framework of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), MIDA serves as a guide for foreign investors interested in the manufacturing sector and in many service sectors.

Malaysia has one of the world's most trade-dependent economies, with trade reaching 165% of annual GDP according to the World Trade Organization. The Government of Malaysia views foreign investment as a powerful force for the economic development of the country but is hampered by restrictions in some sectors and a sometimes heavy regulatory regime. However, the Government continues to liberalize and, in some cases, eliminate investment restrictions.

A special report by the French Trade Commission - Business France Malaysia (November 2018)


The Malaysian hygiene and beauty market is driven by the steady rise
of purchasing power and strong domestic demand. Although it reached maturity in 2013, it still represents EUR 1.6 billion in 2016, which is + 4% compared to 2015. Skincare market grew by 7% in 2016, reaching EUR 535 million in 2016 and is expected to record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% at constant 2016 prices for a total of EUR 656 million in 2021.
The Malaysian middle and upper-classes, who represent the majority of the country's 32.3 million people, are increasingly giving more and more importance to their image.
Furthermore, they are also eager for more sophisticated care. This Is shown by the growing demand for makeup, natural cosmetics, multi-functional beauty products, baby care and men's products.



Colour cosmetics are used daily by Malaysians, especially those who work in the corporate world to embody a greater self-image and confidence in the office. Rising adult literacy rates have pushed more Malaysian consumers to look for healthier beauty and personal care products enriched with natural ingredients.

Korean brands which are more adapted to Asian skin are experiencing strong success, which is also experienced by American brands who are actively developing products to suit the market. Local Malaysian brands, on the other hand, remains limited but is growing rapidly by developing particularly in the halal-certified cosmetics and perfumes sector. European products are growing in popularity, especially with French producers leading the way by being the first European supplier of beauty products in Malaysia. 



The remarkable power of direct sales networks is to be exploited particularly in the field of food supplements and white label products. While high-end cosmetic products are still mainly distributed in multi-brand outlets, many companies have successfully developed their own network of boutiques (L'Occitane, Khiel's, The Face Shop, Mac, Bobbi Brown, Melvita, Aesop, etc.).

Halal certification, while not mandatory in Malaysia, offers a real competitive advantage. The global halal cosmetics market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of + 12.9% from 2017 to 2025. This is thanks to a good socio-economic condition and a large Muslim population worldwide, estimated at about 1.6 billion, the majority of the population is residing the Asia Pacific region and accounted for approximately 62.2% of total market revenue.

The values promoted by halal certified products have become synonymous with ethical consumerism and range from social responsibility to animal welfare. To add more, the tedious certification process and rigorous requirements have caused a large number of consumers to perceive halal cosmetics as generally safer.

Beauty salons with international brands such as Sothys, Clarins, Caudalie, Decleor, Guinot and Dermalogica are proliferating in Malaysia. Institutes and spas have a strong presence in hotels and shopping centres, where they usually have a dedicated floor for it.



Only a local company with an import license (importer/distributor or subsidiary) could start the procedure for placing the cosmetic product on the market. This procedure must be carried out by a company or legal entity incorporated within the field of cosmetics, with a permanent address and registered with the Malaysian Companies Commission (with the scope of the health/cosmetic product).

The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), which reports to the Ministry of Health, is the reference authority
and average cost of registering a product is RM 50 (around EUR 10 per product, by reference).
The notification of a cosmetic product is valid for 2 years. Renewal must be done no later than 1 month before the expiry date with processing fees.

Average registration time of a product: 1 week to 6 months (if it does not contain any prohibited substance).

The average time between the first administrative procedure for export and the placing on the market: 1 month to 1 year.

Malaysia applies it’s regional ASEAN regulations as defined in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.


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