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Market Research in Malaysia

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Country File: Malaysia

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The Economy

GDP: $307 billion
GDP per capita: $15,800
GDP by sector: Industry (40.0%);
Services (48.0%);
Agriculture (12.0%)
GDP Growth: 4.4% (est 2012)
Malaysia is a growing, newly industrialised economy. The state plays an active role in formulating macro economic plans. In 2007 Malaysia was the third largest economy in South East Asia, and the 28th largest economy in the world, with GDP of $222 billion and a growth rate of between 5% to 7% since 2007.

There are 5.8 million households in 2007. At that time 8.6% had a monthly income below RM 1,000 while 29% had between RM 1,000 and RM 2,000, and 19% between RM 2,000 and RM 3,000. At the upper end of the income scale, 8.6% had between RM 4,001 and RM 5,000, 15.8% between RM 5,001 and RM 10,000 and 4.9% above RM 10,000.

Once heavily dependent on primary products (particularly rubber and tin), today Malaysia is a middle income country with multiple sectors based on manufacturing and services. Malaysia is one of the world's largest exporters of semi conductors and electrical goods.

Its main trading partners in Asia are China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, US, and Japan. Total exports in 2011 were $225 billion and had imports of $177 billion.
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Urban Population: 24.8 million (70%)





Total: 24.82




Male: 12.48




Female: 12.34




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Languages & Ethnic Groups

Official Language: Bahasa Malaysia

English was for a time the de facto language for government and administration. However, English is still an active second language and is widely spoken among businesses. The Malay ethnic group makes up about half of the population. The second largest ethnic group is Chinese, who make up 24.6% of the population. Large Chinese communities live in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. The Chinese Malaysian community speak a number of dialects, including Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese and Hakka. The Indian community in Malaysia is the smallest of the three main ethnic groups, comprising 7.1% of the population.
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Business & Consumer Culture

According to the World Bank, Malaysia ranks 18th in Ease of doing business. Malaysia has seen significant change in the development of consumer culture, as has Asia generally. Malaysians are well known for their fondness of visiting shopping malls. They may research products online but like to shop in malls. They are also travelling more across Asia, rather than visiting the West. Traditional values of respect, and not wanting to accumulate credit card debt, also remain strong characteristics. Another clear change is the emergence of clear local and Asian brands, which consumers are happy or even proud to consume.
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Market Research in Malaysia

Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Smartphone ownership: 43%
Internet Users: 15.0 m (2010) (55%)
Homeownership: 91.0%
Car ownership: 75%

Online market research is increasingly being conducted in Malaysia. Asia Opinions currently can access 11,000 online panellists directly and works with other panel partners. Surveys can be conducted in English, although Mandarin or Malay may also need to be used depending on the audience and subject.