3 Easiest Places to Start Investing in Asia

3 Easiest Places to Start Investing in Asia

Last updated April 7th, 2024.

Asia isn’t always an easy place to invest. Some (but not all!) countries make things difficult if you’re a foreign investor.

Generally speaking, Asia’s emerging economies have immense growth and are open for business. Yet unreasonable levels of bureaucracy and corruption are still common in a few places.

That shouldn’t stop you from investing in Asia though. The region is home to over half of the global population and can help diversify your stock and real estate portfolio.

Of course, you shouldn’t make your life unnecessarily difficult either. It’s very possible to invest in Asia without much hassle… if you choose the right country.

Below are three of the easiest countries to invest in Asia as a foreigner. We’ll judge them based on minimum entry price, ease of investment, economic growth prospects, and variety of options available to foreigners.



If you want to buy a house in Asia, you should strongly consider Malaysia. It’s one of just a few countries in Asia where foreigners can own freehold land.


Malaysia stands out as the only country in Southeast Asia where foreigners can easily buy land on a freehold basis.

Restrictions on foreign investors are few and far between in Malaysia – especially when compared to its neighboring countries.

Thailand, for example, won’t let you own over 49% of local company and forbids foreign land ownership.

With that said, there’s a minimum purchase requirement on all foreign real estate buyers in Malaysia. You must purchase property worth at least RM500,000 (~$100,000), though cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang implement even higher minimums of RM1,000,000.

The Bursa Malaysia is the country’s stock exchange and includes a diverse range of more than 1,000 publicly listed firms. Combined with other securities including REITs, options, and ETFs, it’s enough to keep any active trader busy.

Opening a brokerage account in nearby Hong Kong or Singapore is perhaps the easiest way to start trading stocks in Malaysia as a foreigner.



Cambodia is the smallest nation on our list. But it’s the fastest growing as well, achieving an average annual GDP growth rate exceeding 7% since the beginning of the 21st century.

More importantly, and similar to other frontier markets in Asia, Cambodia boasts a multi-decade history of avoiding recessions.

In fact, they avoided an economic downturn for over two decades. Cambodia missed the Great Recession of 2008, the tech bubble during the early 2000s, and even the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.


 Due to its rapid urbanization rate and strong economy, Cambodia’s real estate market is now going through an unprecedented boom phase.

Because of this, investing in Cambodia is a great way to diversify your portfolio toward frontier markets. Foreign property ownership, business-friendly policies, and lax visa laws will certainly make things simple.

Stock traders unfortunately have limited options in Cambodia though. While the country does host a stock exchange, it’s the world’s smallest with about ten listed companies. Many of them are semi-public firms like the port authority and electricity provider.

Otherwise, foreigners can own freehold property and 100% of nearly any type of business in Cambodia.



Thailand remains the most popular country to buy real estate in Asia as a foreign investor.

Moreso than anywhere else on the continent, foreigners choose to buy property in Thailand because of its dynamic market and streamlined processes.

To provide an example, you can easily complete the transfer process of a Bangkok condo in a single day.

Unlike Malaysia, foreign land ownership isn’t possible here. But Thailand doesn’t have a minimum purchase requirement either. With a few rare exceptions, you can buy any condo in Thailand regardless of its price.

Condo advertisements are found all across Thailand, and of course the internet too. You only must walk into a sales office to start things off.

Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable developer – ideally one with at least a dozen successful projects in their portfolio. Smaller developers are more likely to cause problems, whereas publicly listed ones with a proven history rarely do.

You can also easily trade stocks in Thailand as a foreigner. They boast Southeast Asia’s second largest market cap and over 600 listed companies We have a guide about Thai stocks here with more information on the subject.

That concludes our list of the easiest countries to start investing in Asia. Consider taking a closer look at stocks and real estate in Malaysia, Cambodia, or Thailand if a streamlined process is important to you.


Easiest Places to Invest: FAQs

Which Countries Can Foreigners Own Land in Asia?

Few countries in Asia allow foreigners to own land. Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea stand out as a few places that make it easy to own land on a freehold basis.

What's the Easiest Way to Buy Stocks in Asia?

The easiest way is to simply trade stocks through your brokerage account at home. Major brokerages such as IBKR and Fidelity give access to Asia's largest stock exchanges.

However, you'll need to open a brokerage account in Asia to access the region's best opportunities. You can't access high-growth markets like the Philippines, Malaysia, or Cambodia through a broker in Europe or the US.

Consider opening a brokerage account in either Singapore or Hong Kong if you're seeking broader access to Asian markets.

Where is the Best Country to Invest in Asia?

That'll depend on your own personal investment goals. Developed countries such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore provide stability and diversification away from the western world.

Meanwhile, frontier markets like Cambodia and Nepal enjoy rapid growth. These are difficult places to buy stocks or real estate as a foreign investor, but they'll almost certainly continue growing simply because of their rapid urbanization and population increase.

Emerging markets such as Thailand and Malaysia offer a balance between developed nations and frontier markets.


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