Malaysian Small Businesses Eye Strong Growth in 2024 Amid Optimism and Tech Adoption

CPA Australia’s survey reveals robust growth prospects for Malaysian small businesses in 2024, with 78% anticipating growth, fueled by confidence in the economy and increased technology adoption. While concerns persist regarding rising business costs and cybersecurity risks, there is a growing focus on innovation, ESG practices, and government support to drive sustainable growth and competitiveness.

3 April 2024 – A recent survey conducted by CPA Australia revealed that 66% of Malaysian small businesses experienced growth in 2023, with optimism soaring for an even better performance in 2024. This upbeat sentiment, reflected by 78% of businesses expecting growth this year, marks the country’s highest result since 2012, surpassing the survey’s average of 70%.

The positive outlook is underpinned by confidence in the economy, with nearly three-quarters of respondents anticipating growth in 2024, surpassing the survey’s average of 65%. Despite the optimistic outlook, concerns persist regarding the escalating cost of doing business, particularly in areas such as materials, utility expenses, staff costs, and rent, which significantly impacted nearly 50% of businesses last year.

Surin Segar, President of CPA Australia Malaysia Division, highlighted the pivotal role of young entrepreneurs in driving innovation and technology adoption. Small businesses led by younger entrepreneurs are more likely to embrace innovation, leverage emerging technologies, and expand their global reach.

The survey underscores the importance of technology investments in driving business growth, with strong returns from online sales attributed to the adoption of new digital and payment technologies and increased social media presence. Mobile apps emerged as the top technology investment for Malaysian small businesses in 2023, with almost half reporting improved profitability as a result.

Looking ahead to 2024, 32% of respondents plan to introduce new products, processes, or services, signaling a commitment to long-term growth and enhanced competitiveness in Malaysia’s small business landscape. However, concerns about cyber risks have prompted over half of small business owners to review their cybersecurity measures in the last six months, reflecting a heightened awareness of digital security threats.

Surin emphasized the importance of government support for young entrepreneurs and inexperienced individuals in seeking business advice to mitigate risks and foster sustainable growth. Additionally, there is a growing focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices among small businesses, particularly in areas such as staff health and safety, supply chain sustainability, and diversity and inclusion policies.

Moving forward, stakeholders hope to witness increased investment in advanced ESG practices, including renewable energy and sustainable finance opportunities, to promote environmental sustainability and drive positive social impact within the small business sector.

Author: Terry KS

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