How to Do Online Business in Malaysia
To start an online business in Malaysia, you need to:
- Register with MMC, if your business activity relates to telecommunication sector.
- Register with CCM as a business enterprise
- Get a domain name, a hosting account and a properly designed website. If you want to try out before spending additional money on these items, you can still sell through Facebook, eBay, lelong.com.my, mudah.my, your blogs and other social media sites.
- Register and declare income with the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia
The followings are detailed write up for each of the above steps:
1. How to Register with MMC
You only need to register with MMC, if your business is related to the telecommunication industry.
It is recommended that you visit the nearest MMC’s office and discuss your business idea. Check out MMC’s website for the nearest office. You may want to read the guideline first, before meeting up with their representative. Here’s the link to the Guideline Page.
2. How to Register a Company Name and Business with
For guidelines on which business entity you want to start your business, and how to register a company name, please refer to Companies Commission of Malaysia’s website. Link to the respective sites, as follows:
- Starting a Sole Proprietorship/Partnership Note: Please ignore the fee amount stated on this website page; as currently, they are offering an incentive package of RM50 for 5 years effective 1st June 2012 until 31st December 2012.
- Limited and Unlimited Companies: Application for Name Search and Incorporation of Company (Local), and Incorporation of Company (Foreign)
It is recommended that you visit their office in person to do the registration, which takes 1 hour for business registration and 1 day for company registration. If you prefer to do on-line, the link to e-lodgement is here.
3. Get Domain Name, Hosting Account and Website
I assumed that you already know what product you will be selling online, done your research on your competitors, know what will be your unique selling proposition (USP) and ready to start an online business
Selling Online through Your Website
If you prefer your own dedicated website, to do online sales, then go through the following checklists:
- Domain Name: You can either buy an existing domain name or register a new domain name for your website. Alternatively, your web hosting service company or your website designer may also provide this service. There are several companies in Malaysia that will sell ready-made domain or register a new domain name with extension .my, .com.my, .net.my, and .org.my. An internet search will give you several companies. Made an appointment to see them and discuss your requirement. Remember to choose and work with a reliable company.
- Web Hosting Company: Your website needs to be hosted on a web server for the public to view and buy your product. You can either choose an independent company for the web hosting service, or take the package provided when you buy your domain or through your website designer. Check out for storage capacity, domain based email, server uptime percentage (i.e. how long the servers are “up” and running), server security, ability to host a blog and feedback forms. These are some of the criteria to consider when selecting a web hosting company.
- Website Design: You can buy a ready-made website or have one designed to meet your specific requirement. Your website must have at least the shopping cart, ability to do self-edit, fast in loading the page, good layout and photo placement. Most people don’t have the patience to read websites, they scan them. So be brief and split your homepage in chucks for easy access. As always, ask for a demo before deciding.
- Shopping Cart Software: A good and easy online shopping experience is crucial to successful sales. Even if your product is value for money, but if the buying process is slow and difficult, you may not get repeat customers. So ensure a good website layout, good shopping elements and features, several payment options, shipping and delivery options with reasonable rates. Check the demo before buying.
- Payment Method: In Malaysia, you can sign up with companies such as PayPal Malaysia, iPay88 or MOLPay (formerly known as NBePay) as a payment gateway for your sales transaction. These are trusted and respected companies and potential buyers have no hesitation to buy from your website. iPay88 and MOLPay also accept Malaysian Online Bank transfer, to cater to customers who do not have a credit card. You may also opt for direct debit via Internet Banking such as Maybank2u but a potential buyer may be hesitant to transfer their money before receiving the goods, if they are not familiar with your company.
- Shipping: If your shipping cost is high, and delivery time is long, these will also deter your potential buyers from buying from you. If your sales volume is high, you should negotiate with Pos Malaysia and other courier companies; for a win-win situation.
Selling Online Without a Website
If you don’t want the hassle of having a website to do online sales, you can do this through Amazon, eBay Malaysia, EtsyMalaysia, Facebook, lelong.com.my and even through your blog site.
If you have an interest in writing and love to share your thoughts and ideas through writing, why not join HubPages? It is free and you will earn through Google AdSense or when people buy items that you advertise on Amazon or eBay capsules. Give it a try and join now, by clicking on this HubPages link.
Whether you sell through a dedicated website or otherwise, you need to get traffic. If there’s no traffic, there will be no buyers. Examples of how you could get traffic to your site are:
- Register with search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
- Online advertisement on Google or Facebook ads.
- Offline marketing through flyers, billboard, media ads., direct mailing
- Publish an email based newsletter
- If you have a blog, list them in major blog directories.
4. Register and Declare Income with Inland Revenue
Lastly, you need to register and declare your income with the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia. This is the simplest of all the procedures and I will not be detailing the steps here; but just in case, this is their website.
UPDATE: In January 2013, the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board issued guidelines on taxation for eCommerce in Malaysia. This document explain what are taxable for e-commerce income derived from inside and outside Malaysia and other tax treatment.
Start an Online Business Soon
We spoke earlier of CCM’s requirement for everyone to be registered, to do business on-line. When we consider the huge potentials of on-line business in Malaysia, registering as a business entity is a small issue. In fact, that’s one way to gain trust from your potential buyers.
Open Your Business to a Bigger Market
If you have an existing brick and mortar business, consider expanding to a much wider market, by starting an online business, as the growth potential in Malaysia is huge.
If you are doing it part-time, or just earning through Google AdSense, don’t be dishearten of the need to register (especially now with the incentive fee payment). Your small venture might grow into something big, and as a registered business entity, it’s easier to get additional funding, if required.
To quote a Chinese proverb “All cats love fish, but fear to wet their paws” So don’t be afraid to venture into this new business environment.