WeWork set to ex­pand oper­a­tions in Shang­hai

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI - ByWANGYING in Shang­hai wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

CHINA DAILY PRO­VIDED TO

Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO of WeWork

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