An introduction will help your local counterparts disclose information about their company, products and objectives. Possible introductions could come from former government officials, consulting firms, bank board members or trade organizations. It is advisable not to schedule your day tightly and leave some room for flexibility, especially if meetings run long or you want to schedule additional meetings. .
Your business interactions with the people of Malaysia will depend on their education level and exposure outside of Malaysia. Ethnic differences are an underlying factor that permeates all types of business issues. Firms that are interested in bidding on government contracts must have local Malaysian partners, and bumiputra agents will often get preferential treatment. The Malaysian Industrial Development Board (MIDA) overseas the promotion and coordination of all industrial activities.
Decisions are formulated slowly and in a very calculated manner. The Confucian ethic and Muslim influence affect many aspects of Malaysian business. Malaysians tend to be very detail-oriented and use a lot of research in their analysis. Large well-established international companies will have a slightly easier time establishing credibility. Winning trust, however, will take longer for unknown companies. .
Overall, Malaysians tend to be risk-averse, although Malays and Indians are more so than the Chinese are. Malaysians can be cautious and even reluctant to make difficult decisions, although it often depends on their exposure and involvement in international business. .
Always remain polite and courteous throughout a negotiation process. .
In business, legal contracts are honored and verbal agreements are not utilized. Malaysians view contracts as a flexible tool in a business relationship. Trust and honor are integral to building a strong foundation.
Business meetings often take place over lunch and dinner, but rarely over breakfast.