Global co-working space giant WeWork will expand into eight more cities in China this year, said Christian Lee, Managing Director of WeWork Asia at a press conference in Hong Kong.
With a combined ten centres in mainland China at present, WeWork is set to expand into Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Nanjing, Xi’an and Wuhan during 2018. The move will mark the $20 billion US startup’s entry into China’s second-tier city market, after building a network of centres in Shanghai and Beijing.
WeWork Xintiandi in downtown Shanghai, set to open early this year, will be the shared office operator’s biggest centre in the world. The centre will provide 4,500 work stations, said Lee. WeWork finalised the lease on the entire 10-storey, 27,000 square office tower in December.
WeWork Woos Large Corporates for HK Centres
Lee also revealed that the company will open several more centres in Hong Kong, adding to its two-centre portfolio in the city. Upcoming locations include LKF Tower in Central’s Lan Kwai Fong party hub, and a few more venues on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
WeWork’s corporate users in Hong Kong include banking giant HSBC, and the brand is actively courting a wide range of prospective tenants for its spaces. “We have got a lot of interest from companies from all sides of Hong Kong, from the very large enterprises, to startups and to accelerators,” Lee said. Companies tend to make use of WeWork’s facilities to house their digital departments, back-office operations, and sales and marketing teams, he added.
WeWork is betting that its technology, event offerings, and global network across 66 cities, put the brand in a different league from other flexible office firms. “We don’t really think of other co-working companies as competition,” Lee noted. “We don’t think of ourselves as co-working companies. We think of ourselves as a global platform.”
That hasn’t stopped homegrown brands from trying to dominate the co-working space in Greater China. Beijing-based startup Ucommune (formerly UrWork), leased a 15,000 square foot (1,394 square metres) space at Grand Millennium Plaza in Sheung Wan as its first shared office centre in Hong Kong last month.