China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business -

Co-work­ing space provider WeWork has launched en­ter­prise so­lu­tion in China, tar­get­ing com­pa­nies with 1,000 or more em­ploy­ees.

The com­pany pro­vides workspace so­lu­tions and com­mu­nity set­tings, ac­cord­ing to Chris­tian Lee, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of WeWork Asia.

En­ter­prise mem­bers with em­ploy­ees ex­ceed­ing 1,000 make up 25 per­cent of WeWork cus­tomers.

WeWork said it has more than 1,000 such cus­tomers in China, in­clud­ing prom­i­nent names such as Ofo, the bike­shar­ing startup, Da­, an on­line tick­et­ing plat­form, and, a re­cruit­ment web­site.

Yoga-wear brand Lu­l­ule­mon Ath­let­ica, broad­caster Dis­cov­ery and man­age­ment con­sul­tant Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group also use WeWork spa­ces across China.

“Our en­ter­prise mem­bers rep­re­sent 12 mil­lion em­ploy­ees glob­ally,” said Lee.

The com­pany is keen to make work­places lively spa­ces where peo­ple could work in joy and in­ter­act freely, he said.

“This is an op­por­tune time to launch the next phase of WeWork China. We will con­tinue to pro­vide a global plat­form for more Chi­nese star­tups to grow,” he said.

As Chi­nese fledg­ling star­tups ex­pand glob­ally, WeWork could con­trib­ute to their ex­pan­sion and suc­cess, he said.

“A small com­pany can have global clients, and when they travel to other cities in China or meet clients in other coun­tries out­side China, we can help them find of­fices with ease, which would en­able them to ex­pand their busi­ness fast.”

Numer­ous com­pa­nies have ex­panded through WeWork, he said. For in­stance, Mioy­ing, a fin­tech firm, ex­panded from a seven- to 30-desk en­ter­prise; and O+O Shang­hai Tech­nol­ogy ex­panded from a 150-desk startup to a 500-desk busi­ness.

Sim­i­larly, au­to­mo­bile maker Xiaopeng Au­to­mo­tive is plan­ning to ex­pand from 150 to 500 desks in the next few months, he said.

In China, the num­ber of co-work­ing space providers cor­pus of a fund that WeWork will use to ex­pand faster in China has grown in the past two years.

A hand­ful of lo­cal op­er­a­tors such as Soho 3Q and UrWork have in­ten­si­fied com­pe­ti­tion. For­eign in­vestor-backed op­er­a­tors such as NakedHub are also ex­pand­ing fast.

WeWork set up its China arm in July to of­fer lo­cal­ized ser­vices. With a $500 mil­lion China-ded­i­cated fund backed by Hony Cap­i­tal and SoftBank, WeWork is ac­cel­er­at­ing its ex­pan­sion.

The com­pany plans to open four sites early next year in Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

At WeWork, 70 per­cent of its ex­ist­ing mem­bers have al­ready col­lab­o­rated with one an­other, and 50 per­cent have done busi­ness to­gether, which brings a sense of com­mu­nity that of­fers busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties to mem­bers, the firm said.

This is one of the core val­ues of WeWork, ac­cord­ing to Alan Ai, gen­eral manger of WeWork’s China op­er­a­tion.

Mar­ket an­a­lysts said that just like co-work­ing, an­other new con­cept is be­com­ing pop­u­lar. Co-liv­ing is a res­i­den­tial rental model that brings young pro­fes­sion­als to­gether in a com­mu­nity.

When in­te­grated, co-work­ing and co-liv­ing could be a trend in China’s of­fice rental and res­i­den­tial rental mar­kets, they said.

Startup founders and free­lancers tend to live and work with col­lab­o­ra­tors, gen­er­at­ing busi­ness as well as so­cial net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties among them­selves.

A re­search note from Bei­jing-based CICI Con­sul­tancy Ltd said, “More brands are in­te­grat­ing co-work­ing and co-liv­ing ser­vices, or co-work­ing op­er­a­tors are in­creas­ingly col­lab­o­rat­ing with rental op­er­a­tors that of­fer short stays, hol­i­day inns or B&B (bread and break­fast fa­cil­i­ties).”

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