Nestled at the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Penang is known as the Pearl of the Orient. Penang has emerged as Asia’s premier industrial hub, boasting a dynamic and vibrant ecosystem that has flourished over 50 years. With over 300 multinational corporations (MNCs) and 3,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Penang stands as a testament to its robust industrial landscape.
Penang hosts a diverse roster of companies across various clusters, creating a solid network where SMEs seamlessly support MNCs. The semiconductor, electronics and electrical (E&E), and medical devices sectors spearhead industrial growth, with emerging sectors rapidly developing alongside them.
With a rich industrial history dating back to the 1970s, Penang has seen accelerated development led by the “8 Samurai” – Intel, Bosch, Osram, HP, AMD, Clarion, Renesas, and Fairchild. Over the past decade, Penang has been a magnet for manufacturing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), attracting RM47 billion, representing 15% of Malaysia’s total FDI. The United States, Europe, and Japan are the top contributors to Penang’s FDI.
Penang’s Industrial Transformation Map (July 2023)
Driven by both the manufacturing and service sectors, Penang reaffirmed its status as an economic powerhouse of the country. Penang’s gross domestic product (GDP) recorded the fastest growth among all states in 2021, with a 7% year-on-year increase to RM99 billion. Particularly, the manufacturing and service sectors collectively contributed 95% of the state’s total GDP.
On the trade front, the state’s exports jumped 27% year-on-year to RM452 billion in 2022, its highest on record, representing 29% of the country’s total exports. Penang’s trade surplus amounted to RM126 billion last year, which was equivalent to 49% of the country’s total. The state’s investment performance remained resilient, clocking up RM9.2 billion in total approved manufacturing investments from January to September 2022, making Penang one of the top draws for FDI in Malaysia.
Penang boasts a well-connected road and train network, facilitating easy access to the arterial roads of Peninsular Malaysia through North-South Highway. The city is also connected through two bridges and a double-track railway at Butterworth that connects north to Southern Thailand and to the south down to Gemas (Negeri Sembilan-Johor border).
Having a third-largest airport in Malaysia with upcoming expansion to cater 12 million passengers per annum and a bustling seaport in Malaysia with 22 berths bustling seaport enhances connectivity, making Penang a strategic choice for businesses.
Penang stands as a beacon of industrial prowess in Asia, blending a rich history, diverse sectors, robust infrastructure, and a talented workforce. Its commitment to innovation, startup support, and global connectivity make Penang a compelling choice for businesses seeking a dynamic and competitive market in the heart of Southeast Asia.