Antananarivo, the capital and largest city, is the principal distribution center for the island. Toamasina, Mahajanga, Antsiranana, Toliara, and Tolänaro are the commercial centers for the provinces in which they are located. Distribution and packaging are being gradually modernized. Most general merchants in the small eastern communities are Chinese; most on the west coast are Indian. Domestic trade is small due to lowincomes of most residents and relatively high prices. Business is conducted in French and Malagasy. Advertising and marketing are not common.
Business hours vary, but generally are from about 8 AM to noon and 2 to 5:30 PM on weekdays and from 8 AM to noon on Saturdays. Banks are open 8 to 11 AM and 2 to 4 PM Monday– Friday.