Market Insights | Resources

Why Malaysia Among Top 10 Furniture Manufacturers In World

Jun 06, 2022 | Abdul Rahman Bin Asrul

Malaysia is a country founded in Southeast Asia and often being mislooked due to Indonesia having a bigger size in the world map. Although sharing an almost similar language and culture, Malaysia is more culturally diverse and composed of numerous landmarks that portrays the influence of history towards the country.

If you know about the Petronas Twin Tower or Kuala Lumpur Tower, then you are already one step ahead of knowing more about this beautiful and outsider-friendly country. Having a balance of both technological and ecological regions allows Malaysia to be the domain of rural and city development. Other than that, there are different kinds of races and cultural differences here in Malaysia among the states, so it is important to keep exploring and discovering the people and their traditions. Malaysia is also the home for the tropical rainforests which has a vast biodiversity thus allowing numerous natural resources to be used for cultural or even religious purposes. Having 59% of its land being part of the tropical rainforests, Malaysia industries has been nurturing and preserving these natural environments to manufacture wooden products such as furniture and handcrafts.

The Plentiful Resources of Malaysia


The first and main reason for Malaysia being among the top 10 furniture manufacturers in the world is due to its large amount of natural resources. The climate in Malaysia is humid and hot all year long, therefore only summer, fall and spring take place in this country. This gives a chance for the cultivation of high quality woods such as Merbau wood and Nyatoh wood deep in the forests. These woods are mostly used for construction as Malaysians still opt for living in the traditional wooden house as a lifestyle choice. Moreover, these woods are often exported to other countries as well to enhance the economy of the country. Based on a 4-year study by Malaysian Timber Council (MTC), the top 3 wood exports are furniture, plywoods and sawntimber. In addition, Malaysia is surrounded by mangrove trees along its swampy coastlines especially in Sabah and Sarawak. Furthermore, from a more recent study, the Sabah Forestry Department is planning to renew 600,000 hectares of degraded forests with 160,000 of them already re-established for timber plantation by January of 2022. This is further providing more sustenance for the use and supply of logs as industrial and domestic purposes.


Conveniency of Malaysia’s Geolocation


Other than that, Malaysia also has the strategic geographical area for import and export activities. Having the Strait of Malacca is a wonderful blessing as it is one of the most common pathways of shipments from East to West and vice-versa thus being a striving sea-freighting area. Ever since serving the country in the 15th century, people from all around the world have been using this lane to  share their native goods and foods and sometimes even choose to start a new life there. This is the Big Bang of Malaysia’s social diversity. In the present, the Strait of Malacca is still actively used as part of the Suez Canal as a transitional route between Indian and Pacific Oceans to export oils and of course other valuable trade objects as well. It is also stated that if this path is blocked, half of the world shipment will have to be rerouted into another path that is longer and requires higher costs. Furthermore, having protected from the Monsoon wind allows a safer trip for the ships and its crews. Such dangers from the Monsoon wind are heavy rain, strong wind and lightning strikes.

Summary of Malaysia’s Monthly Trade 2021


Striving Companies and Industries in Malaysia


Due to the acknowledgement of Malaysia’s opportunities as written before, there are many wise entrepreneurs who decided to start their own empire of industries. Using the availability of wood resources, these entrepreneurs make business related to furniture manufacturing especially for the furniture in living and dining rooms. For example, the company Johann & Joann Concept Sdn Bhd  specializes on bedroom furniture and prioritizes the prices when attracting customers. Currently, they are trying to focus on online marketing to get buyers from youngsters. This company is more appealing than the others because they use a manufacturing technology called Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) which is a version of woods that are processed to become more durable, lighter and cheaper. LVL, which is composed of dried, graded wood veneers, strands or flakes that turned into billets, is well-known for their great fire resistance and reduced rotting and molding. With the relatively unlimited resources of woods in Malaysia, this company and so many others are able to benefit well by utilizing this technology to create higher quality products and allow for better domestic and export sales.

Malaysia Exports Of Furniture, Lighting Signs, Prefabricated Buildings


Malaysia’s Exports by Main Sectors, 2021


Malaysia's Overdependence on Foreign Workers


Even though with all of the layed out advantages that Malaysia has to be one of the top 10 furniture manufacturers in the world, it is still a recurring question of why this culture-rich country couldn't get better. It's true, there are hundreds and hundreds of different types of industries in Malaysia whether in the rural and city regions, however, the government and/or industries manager are finding it hard to employ local workers due to several reasons. Low-profession industries such as plantations, sanitary and agriculture are not the apple of the eye of Malaysians (even me who is also Malaysian, to some extent). This led to reduced applicants for local workers in those industries. Therefore, the managers had to take alternatives by hiring more foreign workers who migrated into Malaysia to support their lives and sometimes their families too. A recent analysis also shows that foreign workers, mostly from Bangladesh and Pakistan, are more reliable than local workers because they are cheap, abundant and have excellent attendance records. However, these foreign workers are bound to only have a limited period of working in certain jobs and therefore need to be replaced every 2 years or so. This has affected the managers by increasing their employment budget as there are training costs required for every new foreign worker assigned. Ultimately, the industries managers are getting cranked up by being smashed between the pressure of insufficient workers numbers and profit rate as the lower the number of workers they have, the lower the rate of production. So that's why Malaysia is still unable to compete with other more successful countries in furniture manufacturing.



As Malaysia is still a developing country, it is not strange to think that this country is not yet able to dominate the leaderboard of furniture manufacturing all across the globe. Even with all of the potential Malaysia has as stated above, a few adjustments must be made in order to be better and greater. The government must take initiatives to ensure that the economy of this nation can strive and survive, especially when competing with the other countries who also have their own advantages and disadvantages.

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