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Malaysia Plastics Industry

The plastics industry is a primary pillar of Malaysia’s economy, and a source of parts and components for its downstream manufacturing sectors such as electrical & electronics, automotive, and food packaging. In 2023, the plastics manufacturing industry recorded a turnover of $13.1 billion, of which $3.4 billion was for direct export.

The four largest market segments served by this industry are:
Packaging (45%)
Electrical and Electronics (28%)
Automotive (12%)
Construction (6%)

Packaging: Malaysia produces a wide range of plastic packaging products, ranging from rigid (e.g., bottles, containers, etc.) to flexible (e.g., plastic bags, shrink wrap, etc.) for both commercial and industrial use. These products support other important domestic industries such as food & beverage, chemicals, industrial & edible oils, detergents, fertilizer, and agricultural commodities. Global growth of the food & beverage and e-Commerce segments are expected to drive demand for plastic packaging material.

Electrical and Electronics: The plastics industry also benefits from Malaysia’s position as a regional manufacturing hub for electrical and electronic (E&E) products. In 2023, E&E exports were $121.3 billion, accounting for 40% of Malaysia’s total exports. The E&E industry relies on the local plastic industry for its supply of raw materials, parts, components and packaging material. Robust global demand for semiconductors, driven by the rollout of 5G, artificial intelligence, and electric vehicles will expand this market segment.

Automotive: Malaysia is the third-largest vehicle manufacturer in Southeast Asia, producing approximately 700,000 vehicles a year. As vehicle designs aim to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency, advanced plastics will continue to replace metal and glass parts on vehicles.  

Construction: The post-Covid recovery of the construction sector is also expected to see increasing demand for plastic pipes and other polymer-based construction materials. The emergence of the industrialized building industry, where building parts are manufactured in factories and later assembled into construction works on site, will utilize more plastic manufacturing technology.

Major markets for Malaysian plastic exports are the United States, European Union, Singapore, Australia and Japan. The largest exports are film and sheets, driven by Malaysia’s position as the largest producer of stretch films in Asia. The country’s output makes up approximately 9% of the global stretch film production.

U.S. firms supplying plastic manufacturing equipment and technologies or looking to source plastic-based products can look to the Malaysian market. If you represent a U.S. company and want to learn more, please contact Commercial Specialist Mohan Gurusamy at