Knowledge & Tips, Penang

An Overview of Penang, Malaysia Property Investment

Penang is scenic coastal city situated on the northwestern part of Malaysia. It is one of the most economically vital regions in the country and it is the second largest city by population. In this article, we explore why this tropical island has emerged as a top choice for Hong Kong people to invest or to secure a second home, such as: its similar colonial history, culture and geographic landscape, low cost of living, and the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program.

It has garnered a wealth of accolades, including:

  • “Malaysia’s most liveable city” by ECA International
  • “Asia’s next Silicon Valley” by BBC
  • “Medical Travel Destination of the Year” by International Medical Travel Journal
  • “Top 8 islands you must see before you die” by Yahoo! Travel
  • “Top 10 dynamic industrial clusters in the world” by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • “Top 31 BPO locations in the future” by KPMG
  • “2nd Global Tourist Destination” by CNN
  • 1st among 8 of “the world’s culinary hotspots” by Lonely Planet

A Place Like Home

Among the 13 states in Malaysia, Penang is the only state with a Chinese ethnic majority. 60% of the population on Penang Island is of Chinese descent, such that Cantonese, Mandarin, other Chinese dialects and English are used in everyday life, which spares Hong Kong people the difficulty of living in a place where language barriers exist.

Penang was a former British crown colony from 1867 to 1945. The state capital city, George Town, is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for preserving beautiful heritage buildings – many have even claimed it to be reminiscent of old Hong Kong. It upholds a commonwealth legal system, where English documentation is used for business dealings.

Similar to Hong Kong Island’s relationship with Kowloon, Penang comprises of “Penang Island” and “Seberang Perai” on the Malay Peninsula. Penang Island is mountainous with limited developable land – this coupled with the high demand for properties makes for resilient property prices. Where Hong Kong has Victoria Peak with an elevation of 552m accessible via the Peak Tram, Penang has Penang Hill perched 833m above sea level reachable by taking a short ride on the Penang Hill Railway. Lovers of outdoor activities will definitely enjoy exploring the plentiful hiking trails.

“Malaysia feels like home to many Hongkongers, as they can readily adapt to the pleasant and congenial living environment,” notes our Dr. Theresa Fok, Founder and Managing Director of Jade Land Properties (HK) Limited, a boutique real estate consultancy specializing in Malaysia properties.

There are daily short and easy direct flights to Penang from Hong Kong via Cathay Dragon; it provides ample convenience for those who need to travel frequently between the two places.

A Manufacturing Powerhouse

Known as the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’, Penang is home to 300 multinational corporations with manufacturing facilities, including Tesla, HP and Dell. Last year, Penang recorded foreign direct investments (FDIs) of RM15 billion in the manufacturing sector, the largest in the country.


The city is undergoing a range of exciting new changes, including:

The Expansion of Penang International Airport

The state government is investing RM46 billion to expand Penang International Airport in order to raise the airport’s capacity from 7.8 million passengers to accommodate 16 million passengers per year. Tourist arrivals are set to increase further with more regional and international flights, particularly long-haul flights with widebody aircraft operators flying directly to Penang. Construction work started in Q4 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The Penang Transport Master Plan

RM46 billion will be invested to develop an integrated public transport network. The transport plan involves constructing Light Rail Transit (LRT), monorail and tram networks, Bus Rail Transits (BRT), and an undersea tunnel. This will complement concurrent plans to improve existing road and highway networks. The goal is to improve travelling time for commuters in Penang.

Penang 2030 – A family-focused green and smart state that inspires the nation

Penang 2030 is a vision by the Chief Minister of Penang to empower Penang’s citizens to take initiative and to participate in shaping the economy. The program has four overarching strategies: A) focusing on increasing liveability to enhance the quality of life; B) to upgrade the economy to raise household incomes; C)to empower people to strengthen civic participation; and C) to invest in the built environment to improve resilience.

Medical Tourism

Malaysia’s medical tourism industry is flourishing. 1.2 million people visited the country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment and Penang contributes 40 to 50% of the country’s medical tourism income. In 2017, Penang’s healthcase industry generated a revenue of RM500 million. The reason why Penang’s medical tourism industry is so successful is that it has world-class quality care, relatively affordable treatment prices, end-to-end patient service and good hotels and supporting amenities.

Established international school system

When making a decision on emigration, families have the added concern on the quality of education for their children. The international education landscape in Malaysia has grown rapidly over the last decade. Expatriate children have diverse options when it comes to quality international schools, such as Prince of Wales Island International School (POWIIS) and Dalat International School.

For those who are new to the English language or require English enrichment, POWIIS offers the English as an Additional Language Program to help children integrate into the international school environment.

Upholding high standards, these schools offer internationally-recognized syllabuses like the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). They provide a seamless education path for students from nursery to high school, and facilitate transition into world-renowned universities abroad.

Our Accolades

Asia Pacific Property Awards / "5-Star Best Real Estate Agency Marketing Hong Kong / "Hong Kong Regional Nominee Finalist" / "Best Real Estate Agency Single Office Award Winner"


The 20th Capital Outstanding Enterprise Awards / "Outstanding Overseas Property Real Estate Agency"


Metro Finance's Leaders' Choice Awards / "Excellent Overseas Property Agency Brand"


Asia Pacific Property Awards / "5-Star Best Real Estate Agency Marketing Hong Kong for Alila2 and YOO8" & "Best Real Estate Agency Single Office" / "Hong Kong Regional Nominee Finalist"


Metro Finance's Leaders' Choice Awards / "Excellent Overseas Property Agency Brand"


The 19th Capital Outstanding Enterprise Awards / "Outstanding Overseas Property Real Estate Agency"


The 18th Capital Outstanding Enterprise Awards / "Outstanding Overseas Property Real Estate Agency"


The Hong Kong Council of Social Service / "Caring Company"


Asia Pacific Property Awards / "5-Star Best Real Estate Agency Marketing Hong Kong for Alila2 and Star Residences KLCC" / "Hong Kong Regional Nominee Finalist"


Metro Finance’s Leaders’ Choice Awards / "Outstanding Overseas Property Real Estate Agency"


Asia Pacific Property Awards / "5-Star Best Real Estate Agency Hong Kong"


Metro Finance’s Leaders’ Choice Awards / "Excellent Southeast Asia Property Agency Brand"


Asia Pacific Property Awards / "Highly Commended Real Estate Agency Hong Kong"