Kuala Lumpur



Kuala Lumpur, also known as KL, is the most populated city and capital of Malaysia. KL is a Federal Territory and covers an area approximately 243 km2 (94 sq miles). This bustling city grew from a small, sleepy Chinese tin mining enclave into a megacity with a current population of around 7.25 million.

A former British colony, known as ‘Malaya’, Malaysia gained independence on August 31, 1957. Thanks to the economic boom in the 1990s, Kuala Lumpur is now one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Southeast Asia, boasting many 5-star hotels, world class restaurants, and a plethora of high end malls and luxury stores. Kuala Lumpur caters for business travellers on varying budgets, with accommodation and restaurants still costing less than their counterparts in the West.

Malaysia has emerged as an attractive regional hub for financial services, information and communications technology and logistics.  It has one of the faster-growing economies in the world and Kuala Lumpur has benefited most from the growth in business and tourism. Its GDP per Capita is USD9,420 (2016).

Malaysia is ranked 24th in the World Bank's Doing Business Report 2018. You'll find, KL is business-friendly, citing low cost of rent, consumer price index and low tax rates as excellent incentives for starting new businesses. 

Also, Malaysia’s employee regulations, flexible visa policies, and shareholder protection make it an attractive option for businesses looking to establish offices in KL.


Most countries are entitled to a free single-entry visa for stays up to 90 days or multiple entry visas for stays between 90 days and 12 months for business purposes only. The 19 countries which are part of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) can apply for a multiple entry business visa for use within the APEC region.

E-visas are valid for stays up to 30 days for citizens of China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Find out what you need in our Entry/Exit guide.


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KLIA is a modern efficient airport and has been ranked as one of the top five airports in the world. After disembarking your flight, you can be through customs to your luggage very quickly. KLIA is conveniently linked via a high speed rail system to the city; or a car drive down to the city from here will take approximately one hour. Read more here for more details about the Airport’s services and facilities.


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Getting Around

As a business person, using taxis or Grab is the way to go. To ensure your transport around KL is efficient, read more here and download the booking apps.

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To stay connected without the expense of global data roaming, invest in a prepaid mobile SIM card with a data plan. You will find the operators - DiGi, Maxis/Hotlink and Celcom at KLIA. A passport or ID is required for registration and staff should be able to help you activate your card.


A popular app used by Malaysians for messaging is WhatsApp.

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Kuala Lumpur is relatively safe but extra precaution should be exercised.  Petty crime such as pick-pocketing and snatch crimes can occur so keep all belongings close to you and lock valuables in hotel and room safes. Read more about health and safety in KL here.

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The official language is Bahasa Malay with a variety of dialects spoken throughout Malaysia. English is widely recognised and spoken. Here are some useful Bahasa Malaysian phrases.

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A melting pot of ethnic, cultural and lingual influences, ethnic Malays make up around 50% of the population and are known for their gentle mannerisms and rich arts heritage. The Malaysian Chinese form around 25% with several sub-groups speaking different dialects. Malaysian Indians make up around 10% with other minority groups completing the rest of the population. Hierarchical social structures remain effective, predominantly in the respect for age and status. To be successful in business make sure you are fully versed in it here.

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It’s important to get this right. Malays take time to trust and work with others in business and it’s not unusual for meetings to take time, going over details and extend to lunch or dinner.  Remember to be appropriately dressed and men should shake hands with their host and women should nod and smile. Read more about making a great first impression here.

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Source: Fotolia