is penang a good place to live

An Overview of Penang Property Investment: why is it suitable place to live or to invest?


Penang recorded the highest GDP growth of 6.8% among Malaysia's 13 states in 2021.

It has a thriving semiconductor industry supplying 10% of the world’s supply with over 350 MNCs and 4,000 SMEs operating in the city. Penang is also known for being Malaysia’s most liveable city. It has the country’s largest Chinese ethnic population equivalent to 59% on Penang Island. This environment makes it an attractive destination for foreign investors, especially those from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and Indonesia.

Penang has garnered a wealth of accolades, including:

  • “Malaysia’s most liveable city” by ECA International
  • “No. 3 Best Islands in the World to Retire” – Travel Awaits
  • “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 (UNIDO)
  • “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. Close to 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.

Compared to neighbouring Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, Malaysia offers a secure common law system that ensures foreign investors’ interests are protected.

Malaysia and Hong Kong share a similar history, as Malaysia was also once a British colony from 1867 to 1957. Malaysia’s beautiful colonial architecture and unique east meets west heritage houses are a testament to its cultural evolution over time. This shared past has resulted in a common law system in Malaysia like Hong Kong, and English being widely used in agreements and business dealings. The country also has foreigner-friendly property investment policies where foreigners can purchase both freehold apartments and land under their own name. Also, obtaining mortgage loans is easy for foreigners.

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. 


在馬來西亞的 13 個州份中,檳城是唯一擁有最多華裔的州份。檳城島 60%的人口是華裔,因此日常生活中會使用廣東話、普通話,以及其他中國方言和英語,有利香港人溝通,消除言語障礙。

在 1867 年至 1945 年間,檳城原是英國殖民地。州首府喬治市〈George Town〉被聯合國教科文組織列為世界文化遺產,當地保存了很多美麗的文化古蹟,令人不禁聯想到舊香港。檳城實行英聯邦的司法體系,官方文件及商業用語一般使用英語。

With a direct Cathay Pacific flight taking only 3.5 hours, and no time difference, Penang’s proximity to Hong Kong makes it an attractive destination for investors.

“Malaysia feels like home to many Hongkongers, as they can readily adapt to the pleasant and congenial living environment,”
Dr. Theresa Fok, Founder & Managing Director of Jade Land Properties

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.

High quality of life

Penang, Malaysia’s most livable city according to ECA International, is also a culinary hotspot, ranking first among the world’s top culinary destinations by Lonely Planet. Penang also boasts a range of activities and attractions that appeal to all ages. Shopping enthusiasts can indulge in retail therapy at Gurney Paragon Mall, while thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline fix at Escape Theme Park with its water park and land activities like zip lining. For a more relaxed outing, visitors can take a ferry to the famous resort area of Langkawi or enjoy outdoor activities on Penang’s famous Batu Ferringhi Beach. Foodies will also be delighted with the variety of options available, from the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre to seafood restaurants, while those looking for a night out can visit the bars along Chulia Street in the historic centre of George Town.

Penang – Dubbed “The Silicon Valley of the East” by BBC

A Semi-conductor Manufacturing Powerhouse

Malaysia plays a vital role in the global supply chain for semiconductors, contributing 13% of the worldwide supply. Penang alone accounts for 80%, making it an attractive destination for investors looking to capitalise on the region’s remarkable economic growth and invest in the country’s real estate market.

Penang’s Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the city’s economic lifeblood, was Malaysia’s first FTZ created in 1972. Today, there are over 350 multinational corporations and 4,000 small and medium-sized enterprises operating in Penang, specializing in the manufacturing of vital semiconductor technology.

In 2021, Penang received a record-breaking investment of MYR76.2 billion, a surge of 440% year-on-year, with a notable Foreign Direct Investment by Intel of USD7 billion to expand its facility in the FTZ, which will create over 4,000 jobs. These developments are set to have a positive impact on Penang’s real estate market, with increased demand for commercial and residential properties from both locals and foreign investors looking to capitalize on the city’s economic growth.

檳城國際商業城 PICC Penang International Commercial City Central Park Bayan Lepas Location Penang's Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone

A Medical Tourism Hub

Worldclass Healthcare at Relatively Lower Prices

With its quality healthcare services at relatively affordable prices, Malaysia has become a top medical tourism destination among Indonesian, Singaporean, Australian and European treatment seekers. Malaysia has been recognized as the Destination of the Year for Health and Medical Tourism at the International Medical Travel Journal’s (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards 2020. There are over 1.2 million annual healthcare tourists visiting Malaysia to seek medical treatments, generating an annual revenue of MYR 1.7 billion, 50% of which is contributed by Penang.

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 set against the backdrop of a beautiful tropical island.

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

Penang will undergo a series of mega infrastructure upgrades in the coming years.


The Expansion of Penang International Airport

Among these is the expansion of Penang International Airport, which the state government investing MYR8 billion to expand its capacity from 6.5 million to 12 million annual visitors. This expansion is set to begin construction this year, with completion expected in 2027.

The Penang Transport Master Plan

Additionally, the MYR46 billion Penang Master Transport Plan is set to incorporate a range of public transportation routes, including LRTs, monorails, tram lines, and even an underwater tunnel. These upgrades are expected to transform Penang into a world-class city with improved connectivity and accessibility, making it an even more desirable destination for tourists and investors alike.


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) Increasing liveability to enhance the quality of life; 

B) Upgrading the economy to raise household incomes; 

C) Empowering people to strengthen civic participation; and 

D) Investing in the built environment to improve resilience.

Affordable property prices and relatively higher rental returns

Penang’s property market offers relatively affordable prices compared to Hong Kong. The average price per sq.ft. in Penang is around HK$2,000, which is significantly lower than the HK$20,836 on Hong Kong Island (according to the Global Property Guide). This price difference means that investors can get more for their money in Malaysia, allowing them to invest in more properties or purchase larger spaces for the same price as a smaller space in Hong Kong. Furthermore, Malaysia’s rental yield is 4 to 5%, which is higher than Hong Kong’s 1 to 3%. Malaysia is an excellent option for investors looking to diversify their portfolio and maximise their return on investment.

Muze at Penang International Commercial City (PICC)
A landmark smart city development in Penang
Prices from HK$2M for 1,000 sq.ft. freehold apartments

As the first comprehensive mixed-use development in Penang, PICC stands out as a unique addition to the city’s landscape. Located adjacent to the Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone, Penang Golf Club and Convention Centre, this development is situated in the heart of the city’s new business district. It offers a prime location for those looking to live, work, and play in one convenient area. The first residential phase of PICC is titled Muze.

Muze @PICC

  • Crafted by Hunza Properties Group: a distinguished Penang-based developer with 45-years of real estate development experience
  • Unparalleled accessibility: direct access to a shopping mall, 5-star hotel, park, medical centre, and A-grade offices
  • Seamless LRT connection: one-stop from the Convention Centre
  • Cutting-edge smart home functions: elevating your living experience to new heights of convenience and security
  • Panoramic views: of the Penang Golf Club, Convention Centre, and sea
  • Over 70 world-class facilities spread across 7 floors: infinity pool, sky garden, grand lobby and more
  • Part of a top international school network: including Prince of Wales Island International School, Straits International School, Fairview International School and Tenby International School
  • “Hunza Care” property management: after-sales service provided by the developer
  • Up to 70% loans from HSBC Malaysia and Standard Chartered Malaysia
  • 5% expected rental yield

Learn more about our exclusive developments

Penang, Malaysia

Muze at Penang International Commercial City (PICC)

A landmark smart city development

A 43-acre comprehensive mixed-use development with smart city features in the heart of Penang, the “Silicon Valley of the East”.

1,087 - 1,862 sq.ft. / Prices from HK$2M

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

YOO8 Serviced by Kempinski
at 8 Conlay

Fully furnished Kuala Lumpur City Centre branded residences with 5-star service by Kempinski Hotels.

A mixed-use development located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Malaysia’s most sought-after neighbourhood.

705 - 1,328 sq.ft. / Prices from HK$4M

Inquire about our Malaysia Property Offerings