Malaysia 7


Asia Pacific

  • 8:15pm

Market overview

Malaysia has enjoyed rapid growth within the digital sector over the past 4 years and offers a cheaper lifestyle compared to Singapore.

Kuala Lumpur, widely referenced as KL, offers a superb cultural melting pot of different communities -South Indian, Malays, Chinese, Sikh and Indonesian as well as a huge expat community from all over the World.

Offering a fantastic night scene of culinary delights as well a multiple galleries, performance venues and side markets versus couture creations – there is something for everyone. Weekends also see locals and ex pats take short hour flights to local beaches to relay and unwind after a busy option unchallenged by other regions outside of SE Asia.

The Malaysian digital market has started to attract more applicants over the past 3-4 years who appreciate the cheaper way of life, opting for KL instead of Singapore. With any move from the UK or countries outside of APAC there is an opportunity to add value across many digital media channels. The Malays are savvy digital consumers but certain ways of purchasing services or items has been relatively old fashioned so new companies are quickly setting up to take advantage of certain gaps in digital services offered.


Visas are easy to organise for KL and, like most international moves, the client/employer pays for the visa costs with the applicant paying for attesting UK documents to be legalised.

The good news for ex-pats is UK national friends and family (or any UK passport holder) do not need a visa on arrival as they are automatically given permission to visit for 90 days

The Market

A cheaper place to live and work compared to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur offers a diverse range of digital roles from multiple agency and client side opportunities across paid media, planning and CRM. Boasting a higher percentage of younger inhabitants, digitally confident and eager to try the latest advancements in technology, there is a unique chance to really make an impact across performance channels.

The pace of work can be hectic but exciting with many companies basing their HQ in Malaysia and outside of Singapore due to lower costs.

London is very much at the forefront of digital marketing in terms of innovation and education, which is something Kuala Lumpur is still catching up on. Businesses are improving in terms of their approach to digital marketing, consumers and websites are still behind in Asia as compared to Europe. As such, the marketing mix is very different and how you talk to consumers is very different than in Europe, with many businesses not having websites at all and relying on Facebook pages and messaging communication such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and much more prevalent, which adds additional complexity when planning digital CRM strategies in the region.

The Lifestyle

Kuala Lumpur offers a great work life balance. The weather is always hot (30C+ everyday) so outside of work you can live in shorts and t-shirts all year round. The cost of living is good and you can get a really nice apartment in a condo with a pool and gym for between 2k-5kRM per month, which depending upon your salary, usually means that your % of salary to rent ratio is a lot better, meaning you have more in your wallet after your rent. Bills are cheap too (approx. 500RM) for all your mobile phone, broadband, gym membership and everything else.

You don’t pay council tax in KL (as usually your landlord will cover those expenses) and depending on your location and situation you rarely need to own a car, which is a big saving in terms of tax, insurance and fuel.

Kuala Lumpur has a great range of restaurants which range in price depending on what you are looking for. KL has great travel connections if you want to escape the city. There are 11 National  ‘bank holidays’ a year so there is plenty of opportunity for weekend breaks and low cost airlines mean Thailand beaches and trips to Indonesia are cheap and are a short flight away (under an hour)


Digital roles requiring specific performance knowledge across PPC, SEO, Display, Social and Mobile can command 4 times the national average.

12-15,000 Myr a month is offered to candidates with 4 years’ + experience and senior management roles can command 20-25,000 Myr a month.

Travel  and food costs are is very cheap and most employees live close to the centre so extra costs most people have to contend with in most capital cities, doesn’t apply to Kuala Lumpur.

Income Tax is between 10-28% (the latter figure is applied if you leave the country within 175 days) but many costs can be offset against your income tax bill so what feels like a high percentage is soon reduced.