Malaysia’s Shoe Industry Steps Up

The Malaysian footwear industry produces a wide variety of footwear ranging from safety and industrial footwear to sports shoes and high fashion footwear.

Malaysia is one of Asia’s largest exporters of footwear edition. The world wide success is  due to delivering best quality at reasonable prices as well as powerful promotion lead by Malaysia’s External Trade Promotion Agency MATRADE.

Although the majority of the exports are delivered to South East Asia as well as the Middle East countries the organization also puts a lot of effort to penetrate European markets.  At Germany’s leading shoe fair GDS/tag it!, for instance, MATRADE presented ten of the country’s most promising shoe labels and producers.

Among them was CV&JS, a family owned company that specialises on ladies‘ sandals. „It was our second time participating at the GDS with the assistance of MATRADE“, says Wai Kee Kong, who represented the company at GDS together with her mother and sister. „The participation as an exhibitor contributes to building a ‚trust‘ with new customers.“ So far the CV&JS has made some impact in Singapore, Japan and Cambodia. Another Malaysian company at GDS was Nelissa Hilman, an uprising new label that bears the name of its founder. Launched in 2011, the company concentrates on designer footwear.

“Companies like these are constantly introducing innovative designs, patterns and colours“, says Jai Shankar, the Malaysian Trade Commissioner and head of MATRADE Germany. „Often they are owned by creative shoe designers or collaborate closely with third-party designers to develop footwear suitable for a wide-range of market segments“.  According to Mr. Shankar Malaysian shoe exports to Germany rose by 16% to 2.9 million pairs last year, placing Malaysia in 20th position in terms of import source rankings. “Significant increases were also recorded in exports of Malaysian footwear to other European countries such as Norway, Belgium, Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as to the Middle East including United Arab Emirates,” he added. He informs that the Malaysian footwear industry is well-supported by an experienced and skilled workforce with both technical and practical skills.

There are currently about 1,000 footwear manufacturers in Malaysia, employing a workforce of some 30,000. They are mainly located in the states of Perak, Selangor and Johor.