Hong Kong start-up launches search platform for flexible work space as city’s office rents soar

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 6:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 10:18pm

As the number of co-working spaces in Asia continues to grow exponentially, digital nomads and entrepreneurs on the move can now easily book flexible office space with a click of a button thanks to Hong Kong-based search platform AnyWorkspace.

In Hong Kong alone, there were at least 40 workspaces operating as of the end of 2015, according to commercial real estate services firm CBRE Hong Kong. AnyWorkspace was developed to help entrepreneurs find resources and a like-minded community even as they travel, the company said.

It enables users to compare prices and amenities of various co-working spaces in the city, eliminating the need to manually research the different offerings available. Entrepreneurs are able to filter the different spaces by location, price, and available times before making a booking online.

But AnyWorkspace doesn’t only benefit entrepreneurs, the company said. The platform also helps owners of these co-working spaces lease out vacant cubicles or offices, allowing interested renters to immediately see what is available to book.

“It is liberating to explore the spaces and communities around us locally and internationally...[AnyWorkspace is] also a way for property and space providers to reconnect with their clients through modern technologies and without capital investment,” said Sng Kheng Sim, founder of AnyWorkspace in a statement.

The platform currently supports Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta, Indonesia, with plans for expansion throughout Southeast Asia.

Its transparent, instant booking system is similar to that of The Work Project, Hong Kong’s latest co-working space, which models itself on the hotel industry in terms of its pricing model, instant-booking platform and the choice of a daily or monthly lease.

The company launched four floors of office space earlier this week in Causeway Bay’s Midtown Soundwill Plaza 2, offering hot desks and private offices that come equipped with adjustable desks and high-end office furniture. Prices start from HK$13,905 per month for a two-person office.

New York-based WeWork, which operates co-working spaces in 28 cities, also launched in Hong Kong at the beginning of September, offering three floors of space in Tower 535 in Causeway Bay where entrepreneurs can lease offices or desks on a monthly basis. Private offices can be leased from HK$14,800 per month.

Co-working spaces are proving to be an attractive and viable option not only for start-ups, but also for large corporations in Hong Kong that are looking to reduce costs in what Knight Frank says is the world’s most expensive office leasing market.

HSBC last week said it will move 300 staff into WeWork’s Causeway Bay space, and other banks are also said to be in talks with WeWork for leasing of space as it is a flexible alternative that doesn’t require huge capital outlays or long lease terms.

Knight Frank’s Skyscraper Index released last week pegged Hong Kong at the top of the “most expensive” list with prime office space costing US$278.50 per square foot per annum, 76 per cent more than runner up Manhattan, New York, with US$158 per square foot per annum.