There are a ton of shared workplaces out there, and we mean it. WeWork is the brand that set everything off, the market leader and coworking company that the rest look up to. They have spaces in over five hundred locations across ninety-six cities and are tour de force in bringing together entrepreneurs, inventors, and startups. It’s not that surprising that they’ve had great success in other western countries, such as the United kingdom and Canada, but WeWork’s expansion into Southeast Asia may be their most daring act yet.
WeWork was launched in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miquel McKelvey. Seeing a gap in the market, the two founders envisioned a space where individuals and startups can get together, grow, network and evolve. Since then, WeWork has grown into a mega company with over 5000 employees and valued at over 20 billion USD.
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Coworking and shared workspaces have seen exponential growth in Asian markets in the past few years. In fact, coworking spaces and serviced offices have grown over 40% in the past three years. With such a formidable growth rate, newcomers find it difficult to enter the Southeast Asian market, as it is moving too quickly and requires too much capital and manpower to do.
WeWork meets all these conditions, they have deep resources and the manpower necessary. In fact, they have set aside a budget of 500 million dollars to fund their Southeast Asian Expansion. A fundamental aspect of WeWork’s business model is to expand at aggressive rates. It does this means investing heavily in demographics which are seeing a rise in the need for coworking spaces. Their first foray into Asia was by purchasing Spacemob, an existing coworking company in China. After that, setting its sights on Southeast Asia was a no-brainer, it is a growing economy with many startups and innovators coming out of it. All these people need places to work, and coworking spaces provide the perfect option.
It seems like that is WeWorks mantra at this stage, and their aggressive expansion proves that. While is it still early in their Asian game to fully assess whether it has been a full success, their plans for future expansion points in the direction of success. Their rapid growth and deep investments seem to be pointing that way. There are also talks of them expanding their other products, such as Powered By We, further proving their southeast Asia expansion to be a success.
Where will WeWork go to next? They don't seem to be slowing down. There are many growing markets such as South Africa and the Middle East, where exactly Upwork will choose next is not so difficult to tell as all we need to do is look at the growing need for coworking spaces, and we can be pretty certain of their next conquest.