Home Turf Key in China Co-Working Land Grab
Market leader WeWork has more money, but Chinese competitor UrWork can leverage a better understanding of the local customer, the company’s head of strategy said
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A relative newcomer, UrWork, founded in 2015, appeared at first as a minor threat for WeWork, but that is now changing as the company is making its first global steps.Earlier this month UrWork announced a $3 million investment in Indonesia-based shared workspace company ReWork. On June, the company opened its first location in Singapore. UrWork further plans to open offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and London. Company executives maintain that this planned expansion is part of its efforts to help Chinese startups break into global markets. Last week, WeWork filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court, alleging the Chinese competitor infringes on its trademark name, logo and design concept, and demanding to stop the launch of UrWork’s Manhattan offices. WeWork enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, expanding from two workspaces and a thousand employees in 2010 to around 15 thousand employees in 155 offices around the world. Valued at $20 billion and operating in 160 work spaces in 52 cities around the world it dwarfs the Chinese competitor.
As part of its works with resident startups, UrWork offers the companies meetings with potential investors and business management and entrepreneurship courses. The company is also planning to offer legal services in the future."Joint work spaces take up 10% of office spaces in cities like London but only 3% in Beijing and 5% in Shanghai, " said Zhang Peng. "The market is expected to grow very quickly in the next years. No company can kill the other."