When many companies look to export their products to the Asian markets, they typically think of larger countries like China or Japan first. However, some of the other smaller Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore can be very worthwhile destinations, acting as an effective gateway to the South East Asian region. 

With a population of over 28 million people, Malaysia consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and is separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. It borders with Thailand in West Malaysia, and Indonesia and Brunei in East Malaysia. It is linked to Singapore by a narrow causeway, and also has maritime boundaries with Vietnam and the Philippines. Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5 per cent annually from 1957 to 2005. In 2010 the GDP (PPP) was $414,400 billion, the 3rd largest economy in ASEAN and 29th largest in the world.

Population: 28.86 million

Currency: Ringgit

UTC: +8:00

  • The 12 National Key Economic Areas cover eleven industries: Oil, Gas and Energy; Palm Oil; Financial Services; Tourism; Business Services; Electronics and Electrical; Wholesale and Retail; Education; Healthcare; Communications Content and Infrastructure; Agriculture.
  • Malaysia's economy is expected to sustain above 5% growth this year as the continuity of Barisan Nasional's (BN) leadership remains intact to ensure the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects and policy reforms are implemented without delay or disruption.
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow between 5% and 6% this year, led by private investment growth, from a 5.6% growth in 2012.
  • Malaysia's trade performance - Total trade for both 2011 and 2012 surpassed the one trillion ringgit mark, with value recorded of RM1.31 trillion in 2012 and a value recorded of RM1.27 trillion in 2011. Exports grew by 0.6% to RM702.19 billion while imports expanded by 5.9% to RM607.36 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM94.82 billion, the 15th consecutive year of surplus.
  • Exports to the EU decreased by 13.7% to RM62.18 billion while imports rose by 11.3% to RM65.53 billion.
  • The largest category of imports was manufactured goods, accounting for 76.2% of Malaysia's total imports.



Located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137kms north of the equator, Singapore is made up of 63 islands. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business. The country has the world's third highest GDP (PPP) per capita of US$59,936, making Singapore one of the world's wealthiest countries. Singapore currently has a population of over 5 million people and is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor.

Population: 5.184 million

Currency: Singapore Dollar

UTC: +8:00

  • Singapore ranked #1 in the '2011 Ease of Doing Business Report' by the World Bank for the fifth time in a row. This ranking reaffirms its high degree of business affability.
  • Singapore is also home to one of the busiest ports in the world. Having the most extensive international port connections and sophisticated port infrastructure makes it one of the most preferred ports in the world.
  • Singapore's economy has been ranked as the most open in the world, least corrupt, most pro-business, with low tax rates (14.2% of GDP) and one of the highest per-capita gross domestic products in the world.
  • Singapore's Q2 2013 GDP was up 3.7% compared with Q2 2012, based on advanced estimates from Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry. That's the biggest increase since 2011.
  • Singapore is the EU's 13th largest trading partner (trade in goods) and the EU's largest trading partner in the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN).
  • EU-Singapore trade in goods grew by some 40% between 2009 and 2011. In the same period, trade in services has grown by 41%.


Associated Marketing, Your Export Partner