Malaysia welcomes new franchise opportunities from South Africa

Malaysia Opportunities

Dirk Coetsee is an international consultant based in Kuala Lumpur specializing in market access to South-East Asia and is the liaison for PERNAS to South-Africa. At FASA’s recent franchise conference and in a follow-up networking event he facilitated discussions between the Malaysian authorities, the Malaysian Franchise Association, the High Commissioner of SA to Malaysia and Pernas to give South African business and franchise entrepreneurs the inside track to setting up business in Malaysia.  “In a time of disruption, it is important to explore your options. So much is changing in our world it is difficult to keep up,” says Dirk. “As businesses owners, we must stay relevant in order to stay in business and expanding or wanting to move your business abroad into the Asian markets could be just the right move to reach your international goals.”

Malaysia is both a melting pot of cultures and an ideal hub for South-East Asian business expansion. A paradise for amateur and professional ‘foodies’ alike, it is the ideal regional hub for business expansion that includes market access to over six hundred and fifty million people.


Since my arrival in Malaysia a question has obsessively churned in my mind, say Dirk Coetsee. Why have so many African businesses with an appetite for international expansion entered the Australian, European and American markets, often with ensuing regret while comparatively few have expanded into the South-East Asian market?

Malaysia offers a potent combination of affordable rental and labor costs, comparable labour laws, a good level of spoken business English and easy access to other South-East Asian markets, culminating into a very attractive proposition for Franchisors who entertain a vision for international expansion.


The South African High Commission in Kuala Lumpur under the leadership of the High Commissioner Dave Malcolmson offers a high level of support to South-African businesses entering the Malaysian market.

That is however not the full extent of your support base as a franchisor establishing your brand in this South-East Asian country:

PERNAS, a Malaysian government agency falling directly under the Ministry of Finance is tasked with funding and developing franchising in Malaysia and beyond, and welcomes foreign franchisors with open arms.

There are of course a multitude of contributing factors to both the successes and failures of international franchise systems, yet key focal points to consider are:

  • The ability and the intellectual property to adapt to different cultures
  • The offering of scalable products/services
  • Updated market intelligence at a granular level
  • Franchisee sourcing
  • Support to franchisees
  • The ability to adapt and embrace change
  • The correct entry point for your pricing model

PERNAS, the High Commission of South-Africa and some South-African consultants with Malaysian and South-East Asian market experience can assist you to overcome the hurdles that international market adoption presents.


Latest posts by Dirk Coetsee (see all)