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Hong Kong

Co-working Shakes Up Hong Kong’s Office Leasing Market

WeWork rents 93,000 sq ft at Tower 535 for flagship Hong Kong co-working space, reflecting communal work environments trend


WeWork – a global co-working pioneer with 90 locations in 28 cities – is bringing its shared office space to Hong Kong—a lot of it. JLL has helped the company lease a flagship 93,000 square feet over nine floors at Tower 535, Causeway Bay's newest office development on Jaffe Road.

The massive size of the space illustrates the popularity of the co-working concept, and its exponential growth potential in Hong Kong and around Asia. New York-based WeWork, founded in 2010, was valued at US$16 billion in March after a round of financing led by Chinese investors raised another US$430 million for the company. 

WeWork's core mission is to build a community workforce around shared office spaces that provides everything small, growing businesses need to "make a life, not just a living." It creates hip, flexible work spaces and common areas that encourage professional social interaction in leased office premises. WeWork then rents these to start-ups, freelancers and even corporations looking to tap talent. This is a great alternative since office leasing Hong Kong is very competitive especially for smaller players.

At first glance, this approach may seem destined to disrupt the traditional office leasing sector. "Co-sharing is a big game-changer in traditional real estate markets," observes Brian Brenner, Head of Tenant Representation with JLL Hong Kong's Markets team. 

JLL regards this relatively new trend in the local market as an opportunity; not only to find companies eager to occupy  co-working facilities, but also to assist landlords in attracting suitable tenants to fill their office locations.

"The scale of WeWork acts to their members' advantage. An individual skilled in one particular area can join a WeWork space and benefit from being surrounded by experts who can provide services that can support their business. This then allows them to focus on their core operations, and I believe this will help entrepreneurs increase their success rate," points out Brenner. "Small businesses can also acquire other services through WeWork's shared offices, such as health care, to ensure they are getting benefits comparable to those offered at in big businesses."   

WeWork at Tower 535 provides amenities for over 1,300 members, enabling them to operate their business within a beautifully designed and functional work environment; and to collaborate, share business ideas and acquire new knowledge from the other members of their shared space. 

As part of a global community, members can utilise the services, skills and expertise of 50,000 other creators, business leaders and entrepreneurs through networking and business mentoring, while enjoying access to physical and virtual offerings such as web hosting, cloud storage and furniture, but without the hassle of maintaining it. 

"WeWork's model provides an element of adaptability to small businesses, as the contract lengths are flexible," says Brenner. "Of course, this also helps WeWork to expand its global footprint."

Success leads to expansion. Growing companies that start out in shared working spaces will need larger offices in the future, and when they need private spaces they will turn to the traditional landlords. 

"We are fully confident that the presence of co-working companies in the market will only complement Hong Kong business," concludes Brenner.

For more information about JLL’s Office Tenant Representation services, contact Brian Brenner .

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