WeWork has opened its second Hong Kong facility in the city’s Wanchai district – the fourth Asian centre opened by the US co-working unicorn in less than six months.
The new centre at 33 Lockhart Road occupies seven floors in the Asia Orient Tower, Town Place – a circa 1993 B grade office tower. The new centre will add 800 desks to the 1,380 desks that WeWork opened at its facility in Phoenix Properties’ Tower 535 in Causeway Bay on September 1st.
“We’re thrilled to open our second location in Hong Kong in 2016,” said Ole Ruch, WeWork’s London-based Managing Director for APAC said. “Wanchai is a community known for embracing a variety of businesses and we hope our presence here will foster collaboration in Hong Kong and across our global community.”
Expanding in a Crowded Market
After growing to a $16 billion valuation thanks to its dominance of the US co-working market, WeWork is making a major Asian push, but may find the market here already much more crowded than when the flexible office provider launched in New York in 2010.
The company opened its second mainland China location in Shanghai last month after local and international competitors had already established more than 15,000 shared office centres across China. Within a day of WeWork announcing this latest location in Hong Kong, URWork, a mainland-based co-working provider with a strangely familiar name announced plans to open its 37th and 38th mainland branches.
Shanghai-based co-working startup naked Hub raised $33 million in funding from Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital in November, in part to fund an expansion into the real estate private equity firm’s home market.
Despite the crowded environment, WeWork expresses confidence in its prospects in the Asian financial hub. Banking giant HSBC already signed an agreement to park 300 of its staff in WeWork’s Tower 535 centre in Causeway Bay, and tech startups Go Bear, Shopline, Lynk and Flexport are also leasing space at the company’s Hong Kong centres.
Reaching Out to the Hong Kong Community
To help cement its position against competitors, WeWork last week announced that it is bringing its “Mission Possible” program to Hong Kong. The community initiative, which was introduced in New York this summer and has since spread to multiple WeWork locations in the US, offers qualifying companies sponsored workspaces and business services.
“Our own mission is to create a world where people make a life, not just a living. Mission Possible is a way for us to support local communities who also want to make an impact but may not have resources to join the WeWork community,” Ruch said.
A total of 118 people from 35 companies in Hong Kong will participate in Mission Possible at WeWork’s newly launched Wanchai location. In the US, the Mission Possible program offers three to 12 months of sponsored space at some WeWork locations as well as support from government offices, mentorship and the chance to participate in startup competitions and other events.
At its Tower 535 centre WeWork also last week introduced its ‘Community Floor’ which is available to all members in Hong Kong providing an open area for collaboration.