Where free­lancers, star­tups party 24x7

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WU YIYAO in Shang­hai

You have a busi­ness idea and have even raised some money for your dream startup, but with­out a proper space to work, the busi­ness may run aground.

But, most star­tups tend to be cash-strapped ini­tially, and hence un­able to af­ford to rent, let alone own, a full-fledged of­fice straight­away.

Such star­tups are a global phe­nom­e­non now, and are par­tic­u­larly ubiq­ui­tous in ur­ban China. To meet their needs, the com­mer­cial prop­erty in­dus­try has in­vented co-work spa­ces, in line with the trend of the shar­ing econ­omy

Take, for in­stance, the US-based co-work space firm WeWork’s site in cen­tral Shang­hai.

Jas­mine Jin walks into her six-desk, 12-square-me­ter of­fice at 9 am, grabs a cup of freshly brewed cof­fee at the pantry, and joins her small army of co-work­ers of OneMoreCloset, a startup whose on­line plat­form al­lows users to share their fash­ion.

For co-founder Jin and her staff, the morn­ing cof­fee, and many other con­ve­niences that are part of the WeWork pack­age, make a huge dif­fer­ence.

Op­er­at­ing from WeWork, OneMoreCloset has been in busi­ness with no more than a cou­ple of wardrobes as its of­fice fix­tures. The cup­boards hold fash­ion like all-black evening dresses to stud­ded pants. All else — fur­ni­ture, print­ers, in­ter­net, pantry, house­keep­ing, meet­ing rooms, so on — are pro­vided by WeWork.

Thou­sands of en­trepreneurs such as Jin and star­tups such as OneMoreCloset wouldn’t set­tle for any­thing less th­ese days.

Jas­mine Jin, a startup co-founder and a ten­ant at WeWork’s co-work site in Shang­hai

Co-work spa­ces such as WeWork are not owned or rented by an in­di­vid­ual or a com­pany. In­di­vid­u­als or groups rent work­sta­tions or por­tions of of­fice space on yearly, monthly, weekly or even daily sub­scrip­tions.

What’s more, when en­trepreneurs from dif­fer­ent paths work on the same premises, a vi­brant com­mu­nity evolves. Con­nec­tions develop. Networking en­sues, which could help fos­ter mu­tual growth. Con­ceiv­ably, of­fice-shar­ing could lead to suc­cess-shar­ing.

For in­stance, OneMoreCloset’s of­fice sits op­po­site a onedesk of­fice of a cater­ing ser­vices provider. Next to them is a more spa­cious of­fice por­tion that hosts tens of providers of fi­nan­cial ser­vices. A neigh­bor could be a po­ten­tial cus­tomer or a fu­ture part­ner.

“The best part of be­ing a ten­ant here is that you can make full use of var­i­ous ser­vices, and you see op­por­tu­ni­ties ev­ery­where. It’s like a 24-hour party of en­trepreneurs. Ev­ery­one wants to know about ev­ery­one else’s busi­ness. ‘How


An en­trepreneur works at his desk in the AT­LAS Work­place in Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince. The co-work space will open a site in Shang­hai this year.

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