David Tai, co-founder of Chinese coworking space Bee+, got his start in the restaurant industry. While in school, him and his friends opened up several restaurants around Zhuhai to make extra money. As their restaurant staff grew across seven locations, they realized they needed a communal office space for everyone.
Originally, Bee+ was intended simply for their catering business, but expanded even further thanks to a software park’s interest in their idea
“Our first space was built with shipping containers. It was fortunate that there was a software park in Zhuhai that supported students’ entrepreneurship projects,” said Tai. “They found our project creative and our team trustworthy, so the boss of the park said, “Maybe I’ll give you land, and then you can build your own co-working space.”
Their first coworking space was built with 36 containers and steel frameworks. In addition to the coworking space itself, the office was completed with restaurants, a gym, a rooftop bar, among many meeting rooms. The benefits of being in the middle of a software park gave Bee+ a chance to be a hub for people working in the area.
The idea of shipping containers came from research after traveling to other companies, such as Google and Airbnb, and inspired them to have a relaxing, more lifestyle-based office space. Combining the popularity of shipping container homes in the U.S. with that of a vibrant coworking space gave Bee+ all the inspiration it needed.
The firm is only one of two shared workspace companies in China that have the ability to design their own spaces- the other being WeWork. They also seek to serve, not only their members, but workers outside of their space looking for somewhere in the area to unwind.
Bee+ five facilities vary across the board, with some including napping beds, a craft beer bar, and even a tea bar.
Now, on top of expanding their coworking spaces, Tai says they are expanding into the lifestyle solutions to everyday work life.