WeWork set to expand operations in Shanghai
In less than a month after its entry into the China market, New York-based shared office space provider WeWork has leased all of its office rooms and is already planning to open a second space by the end of the year, said its co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann.
“I thought very hard about whether we should enter the China market and when I decided that we should, it was not because I wanted to make a lot of money but because I want to bring something to Chinese entrepreneurs that can make their life better,” said Neumann.
Founded in 2010, WeWork currently has 72,000 members and has 100 offices in 32 cities around the world.
The decision to pick Shanghai as the launchpad for WeWork’s expansion into China, Neumann said, was because the city is a “high IQ location” that is a prime gathering place for programmers, designers, thinkers and inventors.
Compared to its Chinese counterparts, WeWork charges a higher rate with an individual leasing package priced at about 3,000 yuan ($450) for a desk per month.
“Through my observations, it is not true that Chinese customers only care about price. Chinese will pay for real value because they are very smart people. The West is wrong. China is actually all about quality, product and experience,” said Neumann.
Zhao Linghuan, executive vice-president of Legend Holdings, as well as chairman and CEO of Hony Capital, believes that WeWork is much more than a co-working space provider. He said that WeWork’s success lies in the experience it affords customers.
According to local media, WeWork has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from Chinese investors in a fundraising round that valued the office space startup at more than $10 billion. Zhao said that the funding round was led by Legend Holdings and other major Chinese enterprises such as Jinjiang, Greenland and China Oceanwide.
He added that the decision to invest in WeWork was down to the company’s business model which is aligned with China’s goals to become a global market that is focused on domestic demand, service, added value and innovation.
However, an insider familiar with the situation said that the figures being reported about are inaccurate, and that WeWork will announce the details of the funding at an appropriate time.
Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO of WeWork