With each passing year, Malaysia and its capital city are increasingly making themselves known on the world stage. With a recent surge in the “Ease of Doing Business” ranking, more and more international companies are discovering the appeal of setting up shop in Greater KL…and their employees are finding the lifestyle here makes the move incredibly attractive, too.
It may seem like forces are conspiring to move Malaysia ever upward in a host of international rankings, but the truth is, the improvements in Malaysia’s global standings in a number of measures is simply fruit borne of the efforts of the government’s multi-faceted approach to transform the country into a high-income, fully developed nation by 2020. One chief player in this massive undertaking is InvestKL, whose mandate is to attract and facilitate large global multinationals, including Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 companies, to set up their regional business, innovation, and talent hubs in Greater Kuala Lumpur and strategically grow their business in Asia. And on several fronts, KL enjoys a competitive advantage.
One of those advantages is the lifestyle afforded to working expats in Greater KL. Time and time again, whether they come with families or on their own, expats in KL tell us they count KL’s lifestyle as one of its positive factors. Modern infrastructure, world-class shopping, excellent connectivity to the region and rest of the world, and a host of things to do and see on those days off. With such a great array of activities – to say nothing of the scores of amazing restaurants in KL – it’s an Asian city that makes maintaining a healthy work-life balance easy to do.
Since one of the most important components of any company is its people, one criterion when multinationals consider Greater Kuala Lumpur as a regional headquarters is its liveability aspect, i.e., how expat-friendly the city is in terms of choice of homes, international schools, medical facilities, recreational offerings such as golf courses, parks, and holiday resorts, as well as orld-class events. After all, when a multinational sets up a hub in a foreign country, it leans heavily on a team of expat employees and foreign talent who have all left family, friends, and their own comfort zone for a corporate mission. So the lifestyle of the new home becomes something of paramount importance. And here, KL excels.
Expat James de Caluwé of Oleon NV was quick to praise KL’s lifestyle. “Living in Greater KL allows a family to feel they are living in Asia. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, and expats living here can enjoy a wonderful lifestyle and indulge in the best Asia has to offer.”
Canadian George Bohlender agrees, saying “Malaysia and KL offer a fantastic quality of life, hospitable people, and a low cost of living. And some things are even easier to do here in Malaysia than back in Canada, such as visiting a medical clinic.”
Furthermore, since KL is uniquely and centrally positioned in Southeast Asia, it is not only an ideal location for a regional hub for business, but also caters to the expat’s desire to explore the area. Excellent land, air, and even sea connections make travel – whether for business or pleasure – a breeze. A growing number of outstanding international schools in the area make relocating with a family considerably more appealing, and the dynamic multiculturalism that is the hallmark of Malaysia ensures that kids grow up exposed to a variety of cultures, ideals, and practices. Expats continually remark on how good that sort of an environment is for their children, and as KL cements itself as a leading Asian capital, the international schools here have certainly kept pace.
For active single expats, KL is perhaps even more appealing. With a vibrant urban scene, cultural attractions including world class concerts and performances, some of the world’s best shopping, and plenty of restaurants and pubs throughout the city, expats can make the most of their time away from the office. Weekends see loads of working expats enjoying themselves in some of the city’s well-known hot spots like Changkat Bukit Bintang, KLCC Park, Bangsar, and Jalan P. Ramlee, renowned for its terrific nightlife.
Though InvestKL puts emphasis on the business side of Greater KL’s attractiveness when multinationals consider moving here, they’re right to also highlight the city’s appealing lifestyle. Since the success of a company is at least partly dependent on the happiness of its employees, if a company can choose a city – with all else being equal – that will offer a more appealing lifestyle to its expat staff, then they will wisely do so. Fortunately for the team at InvestKL, the city they’re tasked with promoting to the global business world offers just such an attractive lifestyle.
Source: The Expat magazine January 2014
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