WeWork is making a big move to win the co-working market in China after it announced the creation of a standalone WeWork China business, backed by $500 million from existing backers SoftBank and Hony Capital.
Currently WeWork operates seven locations across Greater China, with spaces in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. It said that this money, which is only for use via its China business, would be used to expand its presence in those three cities and move into more “on an accelerated timeframe.” The company estimates that it will have 15,000 members in China by the end of this year.
“We are extremely pleased to deepen our partnerships with Hony Capital and SoftBank to bring WeWork to more locations and cities across China at an even faster pace. Since coming to China only a year ago, we’ve been able to establish a vibrant community of creators and companies — and we’ve only just begun,” WeWork CEO Adam Neumann said in a statement.
The company has picked two close allies to help it build its business in China, in the face of emerging local competitors that include Naked Hub, a company that started out in resorts but is raising $200 million to expand across Asia, and URWork.
Hony Capital first invested in WeWork last year, while SoftBank has been linked with the company for some time. It January, it emerged that the Japanese firm was in talks to invest as much as $4 billion into WeWork, having previously missed the chance to participate in two previous funding rounds, according to a source.
WeWork said it operates 155 physical locations in 50 cities across 15 countries worldwide. Elsewhere in Asia, it has revealed plans to move into Japan — where it is working with SoftBank — and India, while it has been linked with a move into Southeast Asia via a Singapore-based space.
More to follow