Malaysia Unveils Incentives to Attract Global Tech Giants: KL20 Summit 2024

The KL20 Summit marks Malaysia’s ambition to elevate its startup ecosystem to global prominence through pragmatic action.

In a strategic move to position Malaysia as a hub for global unicorns and venture capital firms, the Malaysian government has introduced new incentive packages aimed at propelling the country into the top 20 startup ecosystems worldwide. Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli unveiled these initiatives during his keynote address at the KL20 Summit 2024.

Dubbed the “Unicorn Golden Pass,” Malaysia’s initiative seeks to lure global unicorns—privately held startups valued at over $1 billion—by creating high-skilled jobs and nurturing future entrepreneurs and technology leaders within the country.

“With the right investors and talent in Malaysia, we will make Malaysia the Southeast Asian base for global technology companies under the Unicorn Golden Pass,” Minister Rafizi stated.

The incentives offered by Malaysia include exemptions for employment pass fees for senior management, subsidized rental, concessional tax rates on corporate profits, relocation services, and a startup concierge service to streamline registration processes.

The KL20 Summit marks Malaysia’s ambition to elevate its startup ecosystem to global prominence through pragmatic action. Minister Rafizi emphasized that the initiative is not merely a theoretical blueprint but a series of tangible measures designed to catalyze growth immediately.

The KL20 Action Plan outlines key initiatives focusing on capital, talent, and the quality of startups, aiming to position Malaysia as the destination of choice for early-stage and growth capital, world-class entrepreneurs, and skilled talent.

Under the VC Golden Pass, Malaysia seeks to attract leading venture capitalists by offering incentives such as access to limited partners funding, subsidized office spaces, expedited license registrations, and waived employment pass fees.

The Innovation Pass aims to expand the pool of high-skilled talent within Malaysia through a multi-tier employment pass program tailored to founders, senior management, and high-skilled talent in the tech sector.

Recognizing the importance of robust AI infrastructure, Malaysia plans to enhance its capacity for high-compute chips within data centers. The KL20 GPU Scheme will support startups and tech firms in developing breakthrough AI solutions by providing necessary infrastructure.

The Startup Single Window will serve as a centralized hub for information and applications within the startup ecosystem, streamlining processes for entrepreneurs and investors.

Minister Rafizi highlighted Malaysia’s strategic geographical and cultural position, coupled with its diverse domestic population and digital infrastructure, as factors that make it an ideal testbed for product launches and pilots.

The KL20 Action Plan aims to generate an additional MYR400 billion in startup valuation by 2030, foster up to 3,000 active startups, and create over 100,000 high-skilled jobs. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim launched the action plan paper during the inaugural KL20 Summit 2024, underscoring the government’s commitment to propelling Malaysia’s tech sector to new heights.

The two-day KL20 Summit 2024, organized by the Malaysian government and spearheaded by the Ministry of Economy, attracted over 3,000 participants, including international investors and startups, signaling strong momentum towards Malaysia’s goal of becoming a global tech hub.