Import Export Business Opportunities – Travel and Business

You know what, I always think about having my own business someday. I think about several business ideas, the practical ones and the bad ones, and maybe today, I will try my best to introduce you one of my crazy business ideas that I got when I was shopping for things online. It happened, a few months ago when I was cooking Nasi Lemakfor you that are not familiar with this dish, you can click on the link to my past article. Unfortunately, I broke my rice cooker in the process. What a shame.

I need a new rice cooker, especially you know, rice is like the staple food for most Malaysians. You can find rice cooker in every households, so I need it to immediately. I went online and shop for my new unit. I bought one with a very affordable price.

Fast forward, I was browsing to brainstorm  on my next business idea. In order to entertain my ambition to gain financial freedom and travel the world, I planned to look for something cheap in the US, import to Malaysia and sell them at the normal retail price with handsome profit margin. Some of the goods in the US like dinnerware and cookware are very cheap compare to their price in Malaysia.

From that kitchen department in, somehow, I got directed to the kitchen appliances section (that usually what happened when you shop online!). Then, I noticed how expensive rice cooker in the US is. Very expensive. at least 50% more expensive than the price in Malaysia.

Then, I remember my time in the UK, I think the price of rice cooker in the UK is also very expensive. Plus, most rice cookers sold at department store are not that good in quality. I remember that I have to go to the Chinatown just to get one with decent price and quality. Then, I checked the price at Argos, and it is confirmed, its price in the UK is also way expensive than the price Malaysia. I validated my initial assumptions.

Import Export Business Ideas

For you that never really understand what these words are all about, let me do the short explanation first. They are all related to the trading business that happen between two parties (countries).

Import – an act when you buy products / produce / goods / raw materials from another country and sell them in your country. So, if the United States buy Coffee Beans from Indonesia, it is said that the US has imported Coffee Beans from Indonesia. Usually, the imported goods are sold at a higher price in the local market due to the additional cost incurred, that might probably come from the transportation and additional taxes imposed by the government.

Clear? I hope so. : )

Export – an act when you bring your products / produce / goods / raw materials from your country and sell it to another foreign markets (countries). It is like the reverse act of the previous one. So, if Malaysia sells the LED TVs to the UK in bulk, it is said that Malaysia is exporting LED TVs to the UK.

Trade Process

These are all called trading acts. Trading is essential in the world that we live today. It is because, some countries have more resources and expertise to produce certain products. Why do you want to make or produce it yourself if you can get it at a price way cheaper than the cost to make it locally. Wow, this is getting more serious. (You may be wondering why I wrote these stuffs in a travel blog) Bear with me!

So, if we are better off buying bananas from Ecuador, why do we want to plant it our self right? Just buy the bananas from them and the land that we have can be utilized to create something else that worth more, like building microprocessors factory or crude oil refinery or even creating your own spaceship company like SpaceX!

Plus, trading or import-export activities are also important to meet the local demand. If at any point, a country feels that they cannot produce enough for their citizen’s consumption, then, they have to import them from other countries. For example, in Malaysia, we don’t have any cold water that is suitable to be Salmons breeding ground. Meaning, we don’t have Salmon at all in our water, so we have to import them, maybe from Alaska, Norway, Scotland or anywhere else. Or, for example, in Malaysia, we do not have enough cattle farms to produce sufficient milk for our nation’s consumption, then we have to import it from Australia or Netherlands.

I hope that I have explained the trading concept clearly. At the end of the day, we trade from other party because we want to buy something at a better price or simply because we do not have enough.

: )

So now, you have survived this brief 101 Economy class, let me continue with my Rice Cooker story.

Export Import Business Plan

As I said before, the price of rice cooker in Malaysia is very cheap, and I think significantly cheaper compare to most other countries in world. (I know it sounds random, why rice cooker, right?). However, this is an excellent business plan; buy something with a significant low price and sell it with a great profit margin. That sounds like a great business plan right.

For example, look at these enormous price differences.

PANASONIC SR-ZX185 Microcomputer Controlled Rice Cooker

Import Export Business Opportunities

Its retail price in the US – $237 (USD)
Retail price in Malaysia – RM529 @ $118 (USD)
Price difference = 50%


PANASONIC SR-ZG185 Microcomputer Controlled Rice Cooker

Import Export Business Opportunities

Retail price in the US – $172 (USD)
Retail price in the UK – £141 (GBP)
Retail price in the Canada – $220 (CAD)
Retails price in Malaysia – RM429 @ $96 (USD) @  £78 (GBP) @ $130 (CAD)
Price difference = 44%


Panasonic SR-DF181 Cooker & Steamer

Its retail price in the US – $100 (USD)
Retail price in the UK – £130(GBP)
Retails price in Malaysia – RM250 @ $56 (USD) @ £46(GBP)
Price difference = 44% – 65% (UK)

Panasonic SR-JN185 Electric Rice Cooker

Import Export Business Opportunities

Its retail price in the US – $100 (USD)
Retails price in Malaysia – RM185 @ $41 (USD)
Price difference = 59%

You can see that, there are a lot of differences when you buy rice cooker from Malaysia. A lot cheaper. This great price difference could be your opportunity to sell these products with a very big profit margin. Another thing you have to remember, the price I stated in Malaysian Ringgit is actually the retail price as being advertised in their official website ( Meanwhile the retail price in the US is sourced from Amazon. Just imagine, the price tag if you manage to buy it in bulk at wholesale price – greater profit margin.

If you think rice cooker is too hard to sell, maybe because eating rice at your country is not as common as in Asian countries, then, you may be interested in vacuum cleaner? From my research too, I also found that there are huge differences in the price of vacuum cleaner in Malaysia and countries abroad.

For example,

Panasonic MC-CL943 JETFORCE Multi-Surface Bag less Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Import Export Business Opportunities

Its retail price in the US – $325 (USD)
Retails price in Malaysia – RM699 @ $158 (USD)
Price difference = 51%

Travel and Business

I know, this post may seems a little bit out of place from the travel topic. A rare article in a travel blog. However, I just actually want to layout a great business opportunity for people out there that might want to venture into a new field. Whether you want to be a great trader, or just want to find inventory for your or ebay shop, this is the supply chain route that you might go.

Why are these items so cheap in Malaysia? It is because of the low production cost. Although Panasonic is a Japanese brand and origin, they have actually built a lot of factories here in Malaysia, thus reducing the price for the local Malaysian market, and for your information, this kind of product is very cheap in Malaysia, it is because we are the producer. In fact, electric and electronics exports (sales) made up a significant amount of Malaysian Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In addition, I feel that as a traveler to another country,we should all feel the social responsibility to enhance the state of the economy for the countries that we visit. Especially, if that country is not doing so well (I am not saying Malaysia is very bad in terms of Economic condition, but obviously we are not the global powerhouse). It is like the way to give back to the community. Plus, by traveling and doing trading, we can stimulate the local economy and also global economy in general, and obviously, making ourselves better with that extra money.

So, if you are going to Malaysia soon, why not thinking about this situation as your next business plan? Import cheap quality stuffs from Malaysia, and sell it all in your country. At the end of the day, rice cooker and vacuum cleaner are merely the examples. It is just something that I want to highlight to trigger your entrepreneurial spirit.  There are a lot more products that are cheaper in Malaysia and you can do your own research. It can be food items, raw material, clothing or anything else. It is up to you.

So, if you find my business idea is useful, hope that you will do further research and proceed with it soon.

After all, we need money to travel the world, and who knows, it may come from selling rice cookers?

All the best.
Thank You

Posted in Miscellaneous.


  1. What an interesting idea! I don’t think I realized prices varied that much between different countries! Thank you for the insight! Have you tried this venture yet? I wonder if the price of shipping is low enough to still return a profit. Do you think you have to buy in bulk when doing something like this? What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Ashley, this is something that I might venture in the future. I plan to import dinnerware from US through first, I have checked the price, even with the shipping cost, it is still feasible to get a good amount of profit as the retail price of the luxurious dinnerware here is really high.


  2. Hi there Selamat, thanks for providing this invaluable resource for people looking for information on import/export business in Malaysia, which before i read this i didn’t have much knowledge about.

    But when you look closer its really easy to see that buying product low in one market, and selling high in another market is a great business structure, which if you get the right product can result in a huge profit margin.

    Great post!

    • Hi Dawkins.
      I am glad that I have able to introduce you this simple concept of a possible business idea.
      It is something that maybe worth further feasibility study.


  3. Hello, thank you for your wonderful post on importing and exporting. I had looked into something similar before and was confused by the prospect of it all. This post clarified it some more.
    I didn’t realize how much the price difference was between different countries. I knew there was a difference but didn’t realize it was so vast.
    The one thing that I didn’t understand is, when buying bulk, we ship the whole bulk order to Amazon and then we set our price and Amazon then ships it out. Is this correct? And with the shipping costs for such a large bulk of items, do you know if it is worth it?
    Thank you again for your wonderful post.

    • Ho there, to be cleared, when I used amazon for the price standard – it is just to show you, how expensive these items are in your/foreign countries compared to Malaysia. But if you want to start this business, say exporting those rice cookers, it will has nothing to do with amazon (the exporting part)

      When we say export, it means you have to buy it from the local retailer or wholesaler in malaysia, then you can use it as your inventory for your online shop in

      About the shipping cost, I am sorry but I did not research on that yet, it is something that ome could do if one decided to pursue with this business idea


  4. Hi, I am,researching importing food products such as red palmoil, coconut oil and smoked fish from Malaysia or Indonesia to the USA. Do you know of any business brokers I can partner with that knows the local area and market to help me source the products and help with the shipping?

    • Hi Mathias.

      Thanks for your comment.
      I think, the best way for you to start your import business is by contacting

      This is the government official body that will assist prospectus importer. They have their office in the US as well. You can basically connect with local entrerprise through them.

      It is better for you to go through the official channel in order to avoid any scams or unnecessary problems later.

      Hope this will help you

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