US based co-working office provider WeWork, which counts Legend Holdings among its financial backers, will launch its service in Hong Kong on Thursday to tap growing demand for flexible lease terms in the world’s most expensive office market.
Three of the eight floors at a grade-A office building Tower 535 in Causeway Bay will open on Thursday, with the remaining five floors, and its second location in Wan Chai, to come on the market later this year.
“Hong Kong is an important market for WeWork and we will continue to expand here, as well as in other locations across the region, following our recent openings in Shanghai in July and Seoul in August,” said Ole Ruch, WeWork’s Asia Pacific managing director.
He said the eight floors at the 25-storey Tower 535 will accommodate 1,400 desks, with another 800 desks at 33 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai.
Henek Lo, the company’s general manager for Australia, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney, said the two locations would add up to a combined total of 200,000 square feet of office space in Hong Kong.
WeWork, founded in 2010 in New York, currently operates more than 100 physical locations in over 30 cities including New York, London, Shanghai, Seoul, Sydney and Tel Aviv.
In July, the firm raised US$750 million in new funds from a group of mostly Chinese investors. Leading the latest round of Series F fundraising were Legend and its subsidiary, Hony Capital, with the remaining Chinese investors contributing a “substantial” share of the total, as reported by the South China Morning Post on July 11.
Lo refused to disclose the lease terms or how many Hong Kong companies it has signed up as members.
“From our track record, normally we achieve 97 per cent occupancy rate after a building has been open for 12 months,” he said.
Phoenix Property Fund, the owner of Tower 535, said earlier that monthly office rents in the building were going for about HK$50 to $60 per square foot, and HK$1,000 per sq ft per month for retail shops.
Besides WeWork, Da-Jiang Innovations Science & Technology Company (DJI), the world’s biggest maker of drones, said it would open its 10,000 square feet store, the firm’s third flagship retail location, at the Tower 535 office and retail building on Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay.
According to WeWork’s membership plan, the starting price for hot desks at Tower 535 is HK$6,200 per month. Members can use the venue for seminars, workshops or events, and children are welcome at all WeWork locations.
Ho said nearly 10,000 companies and more than 60,000 members are now using WeWork locations worldwide, with member companies ranging from start-ups to household names including Delta, IBM, KMPG, GE, Dropbox, and Samsung.
More than 70 per cent of WeWork’s members collaborate with each other and its international locations serve as convenient bases for business travel, enabling a great degree of work flexibility for both multinationals and small-to-medium-sized businesses alike, as well as options for easy expansion into new markets.