Export Opportunities in ASEAN Region

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an international organisation that aims to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region. There are several nations in the ASEAN region that serve as potential export destinations for Malaysian businesses, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, Myanmar and Philippines.  

Indonesia is Malaysia’s 7th largest trading partner and 9th largest export destination, and the main export products are petroleum, chemicals, electronics, machinery and equipment, iron and steel, processed food and manufactures of metal. There are opportunities for halal products in Indonesia, as they are the largest halal consumer market in the world. However, there is a lack of enforcement of regulations related to the halal industry as well as lack of understanding of halal requirements. Doing business in Indonesia comes with many market challenges, such as price competitiveness, high taxation of imported products compared to local products, and high transportation and registration cost. Besides that, businesses need to obtain approval for overlapping permits and search for trustworthy local partners when setting up business in Indonesia.

Thailand is another market in the ASEAN region that offers numerous export opportunities, particularly in the food and beverage sector. The F&B sector has seen a significant growth in recent years due to the rising number of convenience stores and foreign tourists. To enter the Thai market and reach potential Thai buyers, it is advised that exporters partner with a local agent or distributor. Trade exhibitions and social media advertisements remain the most efficient methods for promoting industrial products. As the market in Thailand is open and very competitive, Malaysian businesses should study factors such as the channels of distribution, current pricing strategies of key competitors, and necessary sales and promotional techniques.  

There is a strong demand for F&B products in the Vietnam and Cambodia market, due to the growing urban population, rising income and digital transformation. In Vietnam, there are opportunities for organic, plant-based food, healthy food products due to increased awareness of the benefits of healthy foods.  Meanwhile, consumers in Cambodia are seeking for new and diverse product offerings in various food categories such as dairy, beverages, fruit juices and convenience foods.

Myanmar is the largest country in Southeast Asia and is divided into twenty-one administrative subdivisions. The country’s trade performance has shown signs of recovery after the political instability of the past two years. However, there are still civil wars that may suspend border trade from time to time. Malaysian businesses will need to stay updated on ongoing news and issues in the country as well as regulatory requirements and potential market competition.

Malaysia has established a strong trade relationship with the Philippines, with total trade valued at USD 7.91 billion. The Philippines is an urban millennial tech savvy market, and more consumers are transitioning to getting their everyday goods from online marketplaces. Due to the growing middle class with increasing purchasing power, the number of e-commerce users is projected to grow to 60.41 million in 2027. Hence, Malaysian businesses need to leverage on social media, online advertising, e-commerce and key opinion leaders.

Malaysian companies who are interested in exporting to Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, Myanmar and Philippines may reach out to MATRADE for enquiries and assistance.

For enquiries, please contact:

E: jakarta@matrade.gov.my
T: +62-21-576 4322

E: bangkok@matrade.gov.my
T: +66 2108 1792

E: hcmc@matrade.gov.my
T: +8428 3822 1468

E: manila@matrade.gov.my
T: +63 2 8662 8270

E: yangon@matrade.gov.my
T: +951 230 1951

Mr. Chong Yun Jang
Trade Commissioner
E: yjchong@matrade.gov.my

Mr. Muhamad Husni Ya
Assistant Trade Commissioner
E: husni@matrade.gov.my

Ms. Khin Nyein Chan
Marketing Officer
E: yangon.khin@matrade.gov.my

MATRADE Webinar (Expand Your Presence in ASEAN: A Session with MATRADE Trade Commissioners and Marketing Officer)