Global shared office giant WeWork is said to be renting three floors of a grade A office tower in Quarry Bay to launch its latest venue in Hong Kong, as the city’s co-working market continues to heat up.
The $20 billion US startup, which already operates two locations in Hong Kong, is reported to be paying more than HK$2 million ($256,000) per month for the 50,000 square foot (4,645 square metre) space – or over HK$40 per square foot – at Swire’s Cityplaza Three in Taikoo Place, according to an account in local newspaper Apple Daily.
The 21-storey tower at 14 Taikoo Wan Road is connected to the Tai Koo MTR station and to the Cityplaza Mall, next to Swire’s Taikoo Shing residential development in eastern Hong Kong Island’s commercial hub of Quarry Bay.
In response to an inquiry from Mingtiandi, a WeWork spokesperson said the company does not comment on speculation and rumours. Inquiries to Swire Properties regarding its new unicorn tenant went unanswered at the time of publication.
Hot Co-Working Market Spurs naked Rivalry
WeWork’s plan to open its third Hong Kong centre comes just two weeks after Shanghai-based rival naked Hub officially unveiled its second Hong Kong co-working centre, located at 5-13 New Street in Sai Ying Pun.
The new facility off Hollywood Road serves over 300 people across four floors, and has its own art gallery space along with standing desks, bicycle chairs and the much-coveted free-flowing beer.
The high-end flexible office brand launched its first Hong Kong location at 40 Bonham Strand in Sheung Wan this past August. That space takes up 16 floors in the neighbourhood one MTR stop west of Central. Formed in 2015, naked Hub also has 16 locations in Beijing and Shanghai.
WeWork in Greater China Expansion Drive
WeWork, the seven-year-old startup with more than 170 locations globally, is ramping up its growth in Asia, and has recently named a new head of Greater China to help drive its expansion in Hong Kong and the mainland. Alan Ai, who previously worked as vice president of marketing at Disney Parks and Resorts Shanghai, will lead the firm’s China operations and oversee the local team, reporting to WeWork Asia Managing Director Christian Lee.
Ai joins WeWork as the company prepares to open four new co-working centres in Beijing and Shanghai early next year, building on the nine centres it currently operates in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. The company has raised $500 million for its Greater China business as part of a $4.4 billion capital haul from Japan’s SoftBank and Vision Fund to fuel its Asian growth drive.
WeWork established its first stronghold in Hong Kong in September of last year by opening an eight-storey venue at Phoenix Properties’ newly redeveloped Tower 535 on Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay. The New York-based brand followed that up in December with a second centre occupying seven floors in the Asia Orient Tower in Wan Chai.
WeWork is also reported to be setting up a new centre in the former Hotel LKF in the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district in Central. And the company is expanding its footprint in the city’s Kwun Tong area within Kowloon East by leasing a full floor, covering nearly 36,000 square feet (3,345 square metres) at Mapletree Bay Point, according to local media reports.