Malaysia has 3 cities in the top 1000 and is one of South East Asia’s best countries for setting up a startup.
Since 2023, Malaysia lost 1 spot in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, having now positioned itself as 43rd worldwide.
Despite its strategic geographic location in the Asia-Pacific region, offering potential access to huge regional markets, Malaysia has yet to fully realize its potential. The talent and positive mindset are there, government policies and public sector startup related institutions are overperforming compared to most of their Asian counterparts, but the easing of regulation and bureaucracy is crucial for Malaysia’s sustained startup ecosystem growth.
It is encouraging to see that Malaysia now has the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. As part of reaching the goal of shared prosperity, this new strategy includes an area of focus for startups. In addition, the government launched the MYStartup platform to provide startup ecosystem stakeholders with resources and opportunities. MYStartup was also tasked with launching the Startup Ecosystem Roadmap (SUPER) 2021-2030, a plan that seeks to put Malaysia among the world’s top 20 startup hubs.
Kuala Lumpur is the main startup hub of Malaysia, hosting the majority of the startups in the country. This is to be expected in a capital city. However, George Town also has a thriving startup ecosystem with a promising future. One of the most important ecosystem facilitators in the city is Digital Penang. It is a government-linked organization that contributes to the development of the startup ecosystem through initiatives such as the SME Go Digital program to support the growth of early-stage tech startups and strengthen the startup ecosystem in Penang.
A major milestone for Malaysia is its first unicorn, Carsome. This used-car ecommerce platform crossed the US$ 1 billion valuation threshold in 2021. According to Malaysia’s Digital Economy Blueprint, the country plans to foster five more unicorns in its key digital industry clusters by 2030. The plan also receives support from the private sector. For instance, ScaleUp Malaysia and Proficeo are two ecosystem support organizations that have set a goal to produce more unicorns with the 100 Soonicorns Program.
Even though the country has a relatively big consumer market, which could tempt startups to be inward-focused, we hope to see more entrepreneurs in Malaysia take risks and scale to international markets.
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Malaysia is ranked within the top 50 startup ecosystems globally.
Malaysia’s startup scene is best represented in Education, Ecommerce & Retail, and in and Foodtech.
|2023 National Rank & Change||City||Global Rank & Change||Total Score||Quantity Score||Quality Score||Business Score|
On our map, you can explore a total of 73 startups for Education.
In South East Asia, Malaysia's Ecommerce & Retail is in top 31. Malaysia has a concentration of about 46 of the region's total Ecommerce & Retail startups that are represented on our map.
Malaysia's Foodtech is ranked 36th in the world. Our database contains 40 for this industry.
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