Inside Iskandar: Quick tips for businesses

  • Location is key

Each flagship zone in Iskandar is focused on developing specific sectors, so certain zones might be more suitable for your business. Exporters might prefer Flagship C, a free-trade zone, while Flagship D is the designated industrial and manufacturing hub.

Now, many are rushing to Flagship B, Nusajaya, but this is driving up costs there, while other zones, including Flagship E, have remained affordable.

  • Do your homework

The price of the factory might be low, but why? Is demand low? How is the infrastructure in the area?

At the time of viewing, business owners will probably get to see only empty plots of land and have to base their decisions on showrooms that were built to impress. Stick to developers with good track records.

Malaysia has different land and property ownership rules and different interpretations of these rules, depending on whom you speak to. Engage an experienced lawyer.

  • Seek local know-how

The Malaysia Industrial Development Authority is often the first point of contact for businesses and can advise you on the types of grants that are relevant to your business. Companies hoping to cut short their business incorporation process in Malaysia should tap on the professional services offered by business consultants.

  • Choose the right bank

Many businesses that need to finance their investments in Malaysia tend to borrow from banks there, as this eliminates foreign exchange risk. However, some have found it challenging to obtain financing from local banks due to their lack of credit credentials in Malaysia. It may be easier to tap on your home bank.

That said, there may still be instances when offshore financing may be better.

  • Evaluate your manpower needs

Although labour is plentiful in Iskandar, firms must be realistic and not go in expecting to fill 1,000 positions. The labour situation in Iskandar is getting tight. Start by recruiting small numbers and tap on your employees as a referral source for workers.

  • Manage your expectations

Every market comes with its own business, regulatory and cultural nuances. Do not be alarmed if certain processes take longer in Malaysia.

These tips are provided by OCBC Bank