Just A Month Into 2018 And Asia’s Flexible Workspace Market Is Booming With Action

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Hong Kong is becoming a focal point for flexible workspace operators, including WeWork and Ucommune (formerly UrWork), as the Asian market heats up in 2018.
  • Asia’s simmering flexible workspace market is set for a burst of activity in 2018.
  • According to a new report on the Asia Pacific flexible space market from Cushman & Wakefield, coworking has taken the region “by storm”.
  • WeWork, Ucommune (formerly UrWork) and naked Hub are set to expand their Asian portfolios this year.

The flexible workspace industry has rocketed in Asia-Pacific. Not only have Asian workspace operators attracted significant investment, international brands have also set their sights on the Asian market.

Asia-Pacific is just now starting to realize its full potential. In India alone coworking is expected to receive around US$400 million in investment by the end of this year. Additionally, The Philippines and Vietnam are two of Asia’s most dynamic economies, which is likely to attract businesses and investment, which consequently could power the growth of coworking and serviced offices in the area.

This prediction is in line with Cushman & Wakefield’s latest coworking trends report, which states that “the battle for coworking dominance (in Southeast Asia) will get serious in 2018,” adding that mergers and acquisitions will pick up steam this year, powering the growth of already established operators.

Round-Up of Industry News in Asia

Just a month into 2018 and we are already seeing a lot of action taking place in Asia.

Ucommune (formerly UrWork) announced that it would open its first location in Hong Kong. Set to launch in February in Sheung Wan, Ucommune’s space will take up 15,898 square feet from a 30-floor high-rise complex. Furthermore, Ucommune is growing its workspace portfolio with locations in Taipei and Singapore (both set to open in April, 2018).

Ucommune’s American rival, WeWork, has also announced big plans for Asia. The South China Morning Post reported a few days ago that the coworking giant will open a new Hong Kong location at LKF Tower and that it is also planning on expanding into 8 additional Chinese cities, including: Xi’an, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Nanjing, and Wuhan.

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WeWork currently has two spaces in Hong Kong, at Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, and will launch another space in the city’s Lan Kwai Fong district in 2018.

Speaking about China, Shanghai-based naked Hub announced that it has plans to grow to 200 locations by 2020. naked Hub recently purchased a majority stake in Gravity, an Australian coworking brand currently operating 3 locations.

But that’s not all from them. According to Reuters, the company has hopes to enter the Singapore market and to open locations in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Manila; either via partnerships, mergers, or acquisitions. In order to power its growth, naked Hub has announced that it will carry out a fourth funding round this year.

Even in Japan, where the flexible workspace industry remains nascent due to the country’s traditional culture of seeking corporate employment, experts are beginning to see increased coworking activity — even citing that “2018 will be transformational for the coworking landscape in Tokyo” (Cushman & Wakefield).

Looking ahead, the flexible workspace industry in Asia will continue to grow, powered to a certain extent by the increased demand of these spaces from corporate occupiers. On the other hand, just as international brands have set their sights in Asia, Asian brands are setting their sights in Europe, America, and the UK to expand their footprint and push for growth in new locations.

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