WeWork is well-known in the coworking space as an industry leader, but China’s Ucommune seems to be offering an alternative. China’s leading coworking space has been growing dramatically recently, proving itself to be a worthy competitor to WeWork.
Ucommune offers coworking spaces as well as event spaces and business solutions. To date, the company has 200 locations in 37 cities, with more than 120,000 members and more than 10,000 enterprises. Ucommune coworking started in Hong Kong and expanded throughout China, with plans to continue its growth.
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Recently, there were multiple headlines regarding the coworking company thanks to fundraising that led to a dramatic increase in Ucommune’s valuation. Ucommune just held its Series D round of funding, which All-Stars Investment, a Hong-Kong-based firm, ran.
During this funding round, Ucommune raised an impressive $200 million, which brought the valuation of Ucommune up to $3 billion. Prior to this, Ucommune had completed pre-Series D funding in August, raising $44 million. Following that, the company had a valuation of $1.8 billion.
These new funds are earmarked for the company’s international expansion to help it grow a global presence. As mentioned, Ucommune China locations are not currently alone, with locations in more than 37 cities, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, and New York. Thanks to the new funding, Ucommune plans to have locations in 350 cities spread throughout 40 countries, something it will achieve over the next three years.
There is no doubt that Ucommune has the ability and drive to expand. After all, it has been on an acquisition spree recently. In October, Ucommune acquired Fountown, which was a major rival with 26 communities. This was coworking company’s fifth similar acquisition in 2018 alone. With that buyout, Ucommune officially became the biggest coworking brand in Asia in terms of members, communities, and space. Other acquisitions this year have included Wedo Space, Woo Space, Workingdom, New Space, and even DAGA, the last of which is an architectural design firm. There were also indications in September that Ucommune coworking bought Huojian Technologies, a smart office platform and in November, it invested in GIMC Zest Digital, a digital marketing firm.
The big plans for the future of Ucommune involve expansion, with that previously mentioned goal of having locations in 40 countries. According to reports, the ultimate goal is to double its current capacity of 100,000 workstations, reaching 200,000 over the course of the following three years. The proceeds from this funding round will not only expand the global presence of Ucommune but also improve its capabilities for research and development. Mao Daqing, Ucommune’s founder, also indicated that the funds raised during the Series D round will help get Ucommune ready for an IPO that should take place early in 2019.
While Ucommune China is the largest coworking company in the country, WeWork is still the biggest in the world. Mao indicated that Ucommune appreciates having competition as it helps improve market standards. At the same time, those in the industry wonder if WeWork needs to keep an eye on the possibility of Ucommune taking its top spot in the future.