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Overview of Malaysia FMCG Retail Scene – General Trade

by Master Fool

This is a continuation post from the earlier introduction to the overview of Malaysia’s FMCG retail scene. I’ve previously covered on Modern Trade’s types of retail establishments found under this channel and in this article, we are going to cover more in depth into the General Trade’s types of retail establishments. To read more about Malaysia’s FMCG retail scene on Modern Trade, click more to find out here.

As mentioned earlier, Malaysia’s FMCG retail scene is pretty diverse and more so could be said on the General Trade’s channel. Also known as Traditional Trade, this channel speaks by itself that most of the retail establishments found under this channel are traditionally operated. As a new brand or new business into the Malaysia scene, its pretty logical to target the Modern Trade channel first as its more focus with most of the international retailers having retail outlets all over the region. However, the General Trade or Traditional Trade is still by large holding a significant amount of consumer market share as a lot of places in Malaysia are still rural.

Here are some of the types of retail establishments under General Trade and a little description of what does the retail establishment entails.

General Trade – Provision Shops

General Trade provision shops are outlets that sells basic household items with no air-conditioning. They typically may also sell items like beer, candies and also cigarettes.

General Trade – Wholesalers

General Trade has also a group of wholesalers. These are typically businesses that buys your products and resells them to their set of customers. If you need to expand the distribution of your product, wholesalers will be able to help you reach out to places that maybe out of reach to you with your current logistical setup. However, most wholesalers would only carry products that are fast moving as they are running their businesses mostly on cash terms.

General Trade – Chinese Medical Halls

General Trade Chinese Medical Halls are establishments that sells chinese herbs and medicines. Traditionally operated by local Chinese hence the name Chinese Medical Halls. Also known in short as CMH, Chinese Medical Halls also sell a range of basic household items as well.

General Trade – HORECA (aka HOtels, REstaurants, CAfes)

HORECA also known as HOtels, REstaurants and CAfes in short speaks literally of what are the establishments are under this format. Not every company is able to strongly expand this category as it requires strong relationship with the eateries buyers or chefs. They like to purchase a multiple of things and just not only one item from a supplier therefore unless you have a variety of products to offer, HORECA customers most likely would prefer to buy from wholesalers that specializes in HORECA distribution instead

General Trade – Hawker  

Last but not least, General Trade Hawker are stalls that are inside a coffee shop. One coffee shop restaurant may have multiple hawker stalls each selling a different type of food.


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