How to Start an Online Business in Malaysia – A Comprehensive Guide

How to Start an Online Business in Malaysia – A Comprehensive Guide

Are you currently thinking of starting a new venture into an online business? If the answer is yes, then you have come to the right place. This article will talk about online businesses available in the market and prepare you with the right steps on how to start an online business in Malaysia.

What is an Online Business?

Online business is any business activity that is conducted over the internet. Having an online business includes buying and selling products online, as well as providing online services. Online business is essentially 100% similar to offline business. The only major difference is that it is transacted online.

In-fact, both online and offline business requires you to:

  • Have a product or service
  • Have a platform to sell from
  • Have a contact information
  • Register business (domain) name
  • Provide customer support
  • Keep in touch with your customers/audience

malaysia e-commerce online business

Steps to Start an Online Business in Malaysia

Establish the Product and Business Nature

The first step in starting an online business is to determine the product that you want to sell and the business nature you would like to go with. There are many different types of online business, namely physical products, digital services, and perhaps selling other brands’ products and get the commission.

Register Company Name with SSM (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia)

Now that you have decided (or not) what products to sell and the nature of your business, the next step is to have your name registered under Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia. The process is crucial to ensure you have a valid and legalised online business.

Prior to registering your business, you should already come up with a business name and business category.

There are a few types of business you can choose to operate in Malaysia as below.

  1. Sole Proprietor – You will need to run and manage this business alone, and your business liability becomes your personal liability. You can choose to register the company under your full name for RM30/year or a business name for RM60/year.
  2. Partnership – You will be operating the business together with one or more partners. The liability of the company will bound all the partners. If one of your partners decides to leave the company, your business will be terminated, and you will need to re-register. Partnership registration is RM60/year as well.
  3. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) – This is similar to a partnership but enjoys a Sdn. Bhd. benefits. For starters, you get limited liabilities. LLP is also a separate entity like a Sdn. Bhd. It costs less than RM550 to set-up and around RM200 to renew yearly. You can register an LLP online.
  4. Company, aka Sdn. Bhd. – This is when things get complicated. Having a company is how you should go if you want to have a separate entity from your business. However, fees and applications can get tedious and complicated.

Build a Website

Building a website requires you to get hosting, domain name, and email addresses beforehand.

What is a domain name? You will receive a unique business registration number or ID once you registered your business in Malaysia. You can then have a domain with the ID, which will make it look more localized, relevant, and credible in Malaysia.

Hosting, on the other hand, is the disk space on the Internet that you need to have to store your files. Hosting is crucial for you to store and display all your website design and images.

Now that you have all that figured, you can start designing your website and adding some relevant content.

Having an excellent website design is crucial for your business. You would want to provide your customer, or potential customers, with a great user experience while browsing through your site. Ensure there is easy navigation through your website and that the speed is appropriate for the optimum online shopping experience.

Next is to have an amazing website content. Make sure you don’t spam all the irrelevant information on your website. Instead, keep clean, simple, and straightforward content that will help your website outranks your competitors in the industry.

Advertising and Promotions

As Malaysia’s #1 SEO and digital marketing agency, believe us when we say Google or any other search engines will take time crawling into your website and make it rank. Thus, you will have to work hard for it. This is why you need to advertise and promote your business and the products you are offering.

You can have your business advertised on Facebook or Google Adwords Advertising. Besides that, you can also try out different promotions and advertising methods such as SEO, editorial post, ads buying, email marketing, and so on.

Remember that it is best to try out a few advertising methods and find out which works best for your business.

online business in malaysia

Top 5 Types of Online Business in Malaysia

Now that we have talked about how to start an online business in Malaysia, it is the right time for you to know the types of online businesses available in the market. You must know which type serves you best, depending on your time, preferences, and budget.

Start an eCommerce Store

If you want to brand your own product or company, you should build yourself an eCommerce store. Starting an eCommerce store in Malaysia is not hard, and it is a lot cheaper than renting or having a physical shop.

List Products & Services on Online Marketplace

If you can’t afford an online store (just yet), you can still list and sell your product and services through a reputable online shopping website like Shopee, Lazada, or even Carousell.

Online Dropship

If you start an online business without the budget and the products in hand, you can always start with dropshipping. Being a dropshipping agent involves selling other brands’ services and products to earn the commission.

Online News Site & Forum

There are a lot of new online media branching out as we grow towards digitalisation. Perhaps it is your time too. If you like to write or have a group of people with the same interest, starting an online news portal or forum site is a way to go.

Be an Influencer

If you are young, talented, and work well with strangers online, being an influencer should be your forte. As we all know, there are many influencers dominating media platforms like Instagram and YouTube with their hobby and talent, fashion taste, or even their good looks. So, if you think you have what it takes to be an influencer, you can always give it a try.

Benefits of Online Business

If you have been thinking and planning on starting an online business in Malaysia, you would probably have already gone through all the benefits and drawbacks it has to offer. Nevertheless, let us go through them one by one again.


One of the key benefits of operating your business online is that you can save a lot of money. This includes saving on business premises and the various bills that come with renting or buying premises.

Global Access

Starting an online business enables you to work without any limitations. You can open up your offerings on a national and even international level.

Convenient and straightforward

Setting up and running a business can be a real challenge. However, when you operate online, you can eliminate a lot of the stress and hassle involved.

how to start an online business in malaysia

Drawbacks of Online Business

However, just like any other business venture offline, there will be hiccups and challenges in managing your business online.

Highly Competitive

Online business is highly competitive, and finding the best niches without high competition is almost impossible as many are already drawn to it.


Because the competition is high, there are credibility concerns among the many businesses that operate. Unlike business with a physical location, it is hard to build trust among potential customers who see your business, not more than just another website seller.

Slow Customer Service

Many online businesses have implemented the Webchat feature to help customers out, but customer service is still mostly done via email, telephone, or snail mail. Although this can be effective for some items and customer questions, there is no point in face-to-face communication that you get from talking to colleagues in the store.

Get Started on Online Business in Malaysia Now!

Starting an online business can be challenging at first, but once you have targeted and successfully delivered it to the right market, it will all be fruitful in the end. Remember to do your research and find the right niche and business nature you would like to run five years down the road.

There is no easy road to success, but at iMarketing, we have all the right steps for you to learn how to start an online business in Malaysia. Our team of experts will be delighted to guide you along the way and help you in making your online business a success.

Talk to us by filling up the form below for our dedicated team to come back to you at your convenience.

The post How to Start an Online Business in Malaysia – A Comprehensive Guide appeared first on Digital Marketing Agency Malaysia.

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