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How Big Is Malaysia’s GDP Compared To The Rest Of The World?

How rich are we?


A country’s GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced by a country’s economy over a specific time period.

It is also used to measure the size of a country’s economy.

In a way, it is also an indication of how rich a country is as a whole. Have you ever wondered just how rich or how big our Malaysian economy really is?

When Compared With Singapore

With a population of 29.72 million as of 2013, Malaysia has a GDP of 313.2 Billion USD (2015). On the other hand, Singapore, with a population of 5.399 million according to data from 2013, has a GDP of 297.9 Billion USD (2013).

From the looks of it, our Malaysian economy is slightly bigger than Singapore’s.

However, it is important to note that Malaysia is a much bigger country than Singapore. Our population is almost 6 times bigger than Singapore’s (29.72 million vs 5.399 million). We also have a land mass that is many times bigger. Malaysia has a land area of 127,724 square miles while Singapore only has a land area of 277.6 square miles (that’s just about twice the size of Penang island).

With these figures in mind, Singapore is actually producing much more with the lesser human and natural resources that they have, and we should give Singapore credit for that accomplishment.

When Compared With Taiwan

A better economy to compare Malaysia’s to would be Taiwan’s.

This is because Taiwan has a similar population size to Malaysia with 23.48 million according to data from Oct 2015 as compared to Malaysia’s 29.72 million (2013).

According to data from 2012, Taiwan’s GDP amounts to 474 Billion USD, which is about 160 Billion USD more than that of ours (313.2 Billion USD) in 2015.

In that sense, we could probably still do much more to grow our economy further given our population size and resources.

When Compared With The State Of California

However, what might shock you is that the state of California alone, with a population that is not that far off from ours (38.8 million in 2014 compared to Malaysia’s 29.72 million), has a GDP of 2.448 Trillion USD in 2015.

Yes, you read that right. 2.448 Trillion. That is close to 2,500 Billion USD.

It is mind-boggling and to be honest, somewhat intimidating and humbling to find that a single state in the United States can have a GDP that is so much larger than our entire country, almost 8 times larger to be exact.

The state of California also happens to be home to Silicon Valley, the place with the highest concentration of valuable technology companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google.

With that in mind, perhaps the best way to grow our economy and GDP is by growing our Malaysian tech start-up scene in hopes that a couple of them would turn out to be the next Google or Facebook.

When Compared With Top US Companies

Speaking of valuable companies, you might be surprised to find that some of the largest US companies actually have annual revenues that could compete with the annual GDP’s of many smaller countries.

Walmart, for example, recorded an annual revenue of 482.13 Billion USD according to data from 2016. That’s already larger than the GDP of Malaysia in 2015 (313 Billion USD) or Taiwan (474 Billion USD in 2012)!

Microsoft, on the other hand, posted an annual revenue of 93.58 Billion USD in 2015, that’s almost one third the amount of Malaysia’s GDP in 2015!

In terms of market capitalisation, Microsoft has a total market capitalisation of 425.33 Billion USD (on the day of writing); Facebook has a total market capitalisation of 340 Billion USD while Google has a total market capitalisation of 506 Billion USD.

All of which are more than Malaysia’s annual GDP of 313 Billion USD in 2015!

When Compared With The World

  1. United States: 17.947 Trillion USD
  2. European Union: 16.220 Trillion USD
  3. China: 982 Trillion USD
  4. Japan: 4.123 Trillion US
  5. Germany: 3.357 Trillion USD
  6. United Kingdom: 2.849 Trillion USD

The above is a list of the world’s largest economies by nominal GDP according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015.

As you can see, they are all in the trillions of USD (1 Trillion = 1,000 Billion), far ahead of our meagre 313 Billion USD in GDP.

Read Also: How Big Are Malaysian Banks Compared To Banks In The World?

So, Where Do We Stand In Terms Of GDP?

Hence, while we are not doing too badly for a small to medium sized country, Malaysia still has plenty of room to grow our economy.

Perhaps the answer lies in our very own technology start-up scene.

Read Also: How The Strength Of The Ringgit Affects Our Daily Lives As Malaysians

DollarsandSense is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest article. 


DollarsAndSense Malaysia is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting, bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest articles.