Chinese flexible office operator Ucommune has announced a strategic merger with Shanghai-based rival Workingdom, marking the fourth such tie-up by the fast-growing startup this year.
Ucommune said last week it had agreed to invest in and merge with Workingdom, which has over 20 co-working centres measuring a total of over 50,000 square metres. Launched in 2016, Workingdom serves more than 500 companies and has over 15,000 registered members.
Headed by former Vanke executive Mao Daqing, Ucommune is the leading homegrown co-working provider in China, with an estimated valuation of RMB 11 billion ($1.7 billion). The announcement by the Beijing-based firm follows a series of similar agreements with competitors WeDo, New Space and Woo Space earlier this year.
Ucommune Links Up with Another Ex-Rival
The merger with Shanghai-focused Workingdom, which also has centres in Beijing and Guangzhou, will ramp up Ucommune’s presence in eastern China, the company said in the announcement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“Following the merger, Ucommune and Workingdom will work together to establish China’s largest co-working platform centred on the user, and promote the healthy growth of China’s innovative economy, while at the same time strengthening the products and services of our shared brand in the Yangtze River Delta region,” the statement says, referring to the region of eastern China including Shanghai and nearby cities.
Just over a month ago, Ucommune ramped up its presence in southern China by snapping up WeDo, a co-working operator in the mega-city of Shenzhen. The corporate moves follow on the heels of Ucommune’s March acquisition of Beijing-based Woo Space. And in January, Ucommune closed on a strategic merger with mainland competitor New Space, a deal first announced last May.
Flexible Office Brand Embraces the “She Economy”
Amid the flurry of mergers, Ucommune, formerly known as UrWork, is also shelling out $1.5 million for an angel investment in She Power, a Chinese consulting and networking platform for female professionals and entrepreneurs, the company announced today.
Founded by Qiu Yumei in Shanghai in 2015, She Power has over 200,000 members including over 400 female CEOs. The social and learning platform combines online and office courses, conferences and other events with the aim of building female leadership in China’s business community.
“A strong desire for professional development and personal growth have brought forth the emerging She Economy worldwide,” said Mao in a statement. “Female entrepreneurs and working women have become an increasingly visible force as more and more female entrepreneurs aggregate on the ucommune platform.”
Branching Out into Consulting, Mobile Services
Ucommune is also trumpeting new services for clients. The company announced last week the launch of U Bespoke, a consulting service combining interior design and IT system design for landlords and corporate members.
The product, which Ucommune says is intended to help companies achieve greater employee engagement and landlords achieve higher yields, bears comparison to the Powered by We service rolled out by US co-working giant WeWork last year.
The Chinese startup also recently announced the launch of Ubazaar, a mobile app-based product that allows members to book desks, conference rooms and other resources. The app’s features include content publishing, social networking, financial advisory, e-commerce, and advertising services.
Ucommune has a network of 160 locations across 35 cities, totalling 400,000 square metres, and is backed by an array of investors including mainland VC heavyweights Sequoia Capital and Zhen Fund. The startup founded in 2015 aims to grow its total portfolio to 1.2 million square metres over the next three years.