WeWork officially opens its doors with 1,900 person capacity
By Kiran Kaur Sidhu May 17, 2019
- 50% of members interact and transact with one another globally
- Declines to share occupancy rates but claims to be “off to strong start”
[Article has been updated with recent financial performance of WeWork.]
THE largest workspace operator in the world, WeWork, officially launched its space in Equatorial Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday. Situated in the heart of the city, the workspace is the largest in Southeast Asia to date spread across five floors (18th to 22nd) with a capacity of 1,900 members.
WeWork has also set its sights on opening up in Mid Valley in the latter half of this year. “With Kuala Lumpur increasingly becoming a hotbed for innovation and modern development, we see huge potential coupled by Malaysia’s steady economic growth and unique position as a high-value market for foreign investment in Southeast Asia,” said the managing director of WeWork Southeast Asia, Turochas “T” Fuad.
He said that WeWork plays a part to help its members establish more partnerships and grow their businesses. “Globally, 70% of our members interact with one another and 50% transact with one another.”
WeWork’s offerings are not far off from the other co-working spaces in the market though it certainly has a larger space capacity. Workspace options include private offices for individuals or 100-person teams, dedicated desks, hot desks and membership which enables access to amenities and meeting spaces. And while the company's main offering is a physical product, it insits on describing itself as a tech company. Critics however tag it as a Brick&Mortar company using digital in its operations.
The company reported a US$264 million (RM1.1 billion) loss in the first quarter which follows a US$1.9 billion (RM7.9 billion) loss last year. With an initial public offering looming it is also trying to distance itseld from being seen as similar to money-losing companies like Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc, both of whom have seen their share prices slide after their recent IPOs. Its first quarter revenue grew strongly by 112% to US$728 million (RM3 billion).
“Our business model is quite different,” insists WeWork CEO Adam Neumann.
Meanwhile, during a sharing session at the launch, the co-founder of Lazada Group, Hans-Peter Ressel, talked about setting up office for his new venture, Momentum Commerce, within the WeWork space. In choosing the space, he says: “Three things were important to us - speed, growth and convenience. I needed to just focus on building the business and not think about anything else. As we grow and help local brands sell globally, I will travel to meet new customers and partners. WeWork allows me to grow and scale my business.”
Similarly, the co-founder and chief operating officer of PostCo, Melisa Wang, shared her sentiments. The Malaysian-grown startup became WeWork members when it first entered the Vietnam market. “At PostCo, we want to grow a regional network of locations across Southeast Asia. As we grow, we get to grow together with WeWork, not just to set up physical offices but also to tap into the increasing network of members and partners.”
As far as current occupancy rates of the KL space goes, WeWork declined to comment. The company, however, said: “We are off to a strong start and we look forward to welcoming a steady stream of a diverse mix of members.”
Prices for hot desk, dedicated desk and two-person private office are at RM950, RM1,150 and RM3,000 per month respectively. Meanwhile, those opting for larger occupancy sizes may reach out to the WeWork Malaysia team via the website.
[RM1 = US$0.24]
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