Expanding Into The Asian Coworking Market
For coworking companies looking into expanding into Asia, there are some unique considerations to take into account before scaling coworking business within this region. While there are many similarities, the Asian coworking market has its own trends as well. From 2014 to 2017, Asia saw a 150% increase in coworking spaces thanks to growing demand. Businesses, startups, and freelancers alike are showing an interest in coworking in greater numbers than before. To make the most of this and scale up your business, keep the following advice in mind.
Tips to Expand into Asian Markets
Understand Unique Office Culture
Before expanding into the Asian markets with your coworking space, take the time to understand how the office culture in Asia is different from that of Europe and the United States. Research the office culture specific to the country or city you plan to expand into, as scaling coworking business requires customization for each market.
Make Partnerships with Existing Companies
As a newcomer in Asia, you will be at a disadvantage since there will be no brand recognition and you will not be familiar with the customs. You can overcome this by leveraging existing networks already in place and forming partnerships with existing companies. Find a company already in the coworking space, and see if you can work with them to expand. Or partner with a popular service provider, restaurant, or café to include their offerings in your coworking space.
It should go without saying, but if you want to successfully expand your coworking space into Asia, you should be sure to hire locals. They will be able to help you navigate the cultural and language barriers, and you will be more likely to gain members if it is clear that you support the local economy by hiring locally.
As with any other expansion, you must be flexible before expanding your coworking business into Asian markets. This is even more important with an international expansion than with a local expansion, particularly since legalities, customs, and even expectations are different.
Choose the Right Location
Asia is huge, offering hundreds of good options of where to start your coworking expansion. If you want to start somewhere with the largest market size, consider Japan or China. If you prefer to deal with more relaxed laws related to foreign investments, choose another area, such as Hong Kong or Singapore.
What to Watch Out For
Regulations and Legalities
One of the most important things to watch out for during your expansion are the local regulations and legalities. Every country is different, so make sure that you know whether foreigners can own a business in your chosen jurisdiction and what requirements there are. To stay safe, hire a lawyer specializing in investments from foreign companies.
Cultural and Language Differences
Any time you expand your business into a market with a different base language and unique customs, you must take care to make sure you do not cause any accidental offenses.
Length of Commitment
You must also be clear that expanding into a new market in Asia will be a long-term commitment. It will take longer to get your footing there and will likely cost more. To ensure this long-term strategy gets the attention it needs, include your Asian expansion in your long-term plan.
Companies Who Successfully Expanded into Asia
It should not be surprising that WeWork, one of the largest coworking companies in the world, is successfully expanding into Asia. WeWork did so by acquiring Spacemob in Singapore last year.