Establishing a representative office (RO) in Malaysia is often the fastest and most cost-effective way to have a legal entity and study the local market before determining viable opportunities.

However, the RO is prohibited from earning any revenue and is limited to mainly market research, information gathering, and developing trade contacts in Malaysia.

Malaysia is fast competing with Singapore to attract foreign businesses seeking a strategic location to headquarter their Asian operations.

The country’s proximity with other ASEAN markets, competitive operation costs, and strong supply chain linkages underscore Malaysia’s importance as a regional hub. Establishing a representative office is the fastest way of establishing a legal entity and studying the local market before determining if setting up operations in Malaysia is a viable proposition.

Most applications (excluding tourism, banking, and finance) are submitted to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

Applications for ROs in banking and finance must be submitted to the Central Bank of Malaysia, and RO applications for tourism services must be submitted to the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

All documents must be certified by the notary and must be in the English language.

The required documents include:

The RO can undertake any of the following activities:

In addition to commercial activities, ROs are also prohibited from:

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This article was first published by AseanBriefing which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Russia. Readers may write to [email protected]

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