Shanghai’s fast-growing co-working scene got a touch of celebrity today when WeWork founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey visited the city to officially launch the office-sharing company’s China flagship location.
The co-founders of the $16 billion startup presided over a ceremony on Thursday at the 1,300 desk coworking centre on Shanghai’s Weihai Lu, that included the announcement of a new partnership with state-owned development giant Sino-Ocean Group.
Converting and Artist’s Colony into 1300 Desks of Retro Cool
The new flagship centre plays right into WeWork uber-hip vibe as the company has refitted the former industrial building to fit the tastes and needs of its young, tech-happy clientele. The former industrial building, which once-housed a warren of artist studios, was gutted by a local developer, before being redone in an exposed-brickwork open-office style that should appeal to creative types digging for a taste of the authentic Shanghai.
The Weihai Lu centre is WeWork’s second location in China, with the Manhattan-based company planning to open its third Shanghai coworking facility next month near People’s Square. As first reported by Mingtiandi, WeWork recently leased that 11,000 square metre building from Kailong Investment as part of its expansion plan for China.
Revolutionary Startup Ties Up With State-Backed Giants
The mainland seems set to play an even bigger role in WeWork’s future following the company’s new agreement with Sino-Ocean.
The Beijing-based, Hong Kong-listed real estate development subsidiary of China’s COSCO transportation giant has agreed to cooperate with WeWork in putting together three more co-working centres in China over the next year – one in Shanghai and two more in Beijing, according to a report today in Fortune.
WeWork’s tie-up with the red-chip developer is the latest in a series of agreements between the co-working startup and government-backed Chinese firms.
In October, Neumann and McKelvey’s company raised $260 million in a funding tranche led by Shanghai’s Jinjiang hotel group to reach a final close on $690 million funding round dominated by Chinese investors, according to the Wall Street Journal. WeWork had kicked off this latest fund raising round by taking in $430 million in March from investors led by Beijing-based Legend Holdings and its private equity wing, Hony Capital.
WeWork and its new state-backed friends are reportedly holding an opening celebration tonight at the new Weihai Lu centre to celebrate these latest milestones. We would invite you to check it out for yourselves, but in China it’s not always a good idea to crash the party.