Hong Kong property

Hong Kong start-up Booqed targets freelancers and temporary workers with office space rental app

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 3:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 7:58pm

Businesses which are looking to lease out unused space in their offices can now look towards Hong Kong start-up Booqed, which aims to help freelancers and start-ups find temporary working space in the city.

Launched last September, Booqed’s mobile app is an on-demand marketplace for business travellers, freelancers and start-ups, who may be looking for a temporary desk space or meeting room.

“Space is a premium in cities like Hong Kong. We don’t look at each space in terms of it being used just for work or meetings. Any space is something that is available to be used [for a variety of purposes],” said David Wong, chief executive of Booqed.

Unlike directory services which allow users to search for available spots at co-working spaces in the city, Booqed has a range of different venues available on its app. Currently, the company also lists several music studios, a yoga studio and even restaurants which want to rent out table space for meetings or to freelancers during off-peak hours.

Traditionally, people look at space as what it is, in a one-dimensional aspect.
Charles Oh, chief operating officer of Booqed

“Traditionally, people look at space as what it is, in a one-dimensional aspect. A restaurant is a food and beverage outlet, but you can provide the right tools and the platform for them to utilise the space in another way,” said Charles Oh, chief operating officer of Booqed.

Oh added that businesses can also earn by renting out little-used space to others. For example, meeting rooms which are only used several times a day can be rented out when not in use. Even a yoga studio can also be used as an event space when no classes are being held, he said.

“The way people are working is changing, with the rise of the gig economy and more freelancers starting to operate. Major multinational corporations in Europe are now equipping people to work from home or telecommute, and soon that will also start to happen in Asia. What is needed then is flexible space,” said Wong.

Booqed’s services have proven to be popular in Hong Kong, where space is scarce and real estate costs are high, according to the company. Rather than negotiate an expensive office lease, Booqed’s customers in Hong Kong have found that they can save cost by renting spaces such as meeting rooms whenever they need them.

Over the last six months, the company has helped to lease about HK$150,000 worth of space, it said.

Booqed also plans to implement a hardware aspect to its services, by offering its host properties the opportunity to install hardware that automates the “check-in” process for its users. By the end of this year, Booqed users could possibly let themselves into an office or co-working space, removing the need for the host property to oversee the process.

The company, which currently operates Booqed in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shenzhen, hopes to expand to other major cities in Asia, such as Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok within the next few months.