WeWork teams up with Alibaba Cloud to further nation's opening-up

Date: 09 Jul 2019

China's resolve to further open up has been reflected by the global coworking and community service provider WeWork's latest partnership in the country.

In late June, WeWork announced it would team up with Alibaba Cloud - the intelligence backbone of e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba - to roll out a program targeting international companies "looking to enter and succeed in China".

China Gateway, as the program is called, will offer cloud services, flexible work spaces and access to the local community and business ecosystem for international firms, the two companies said.

Softbank Telecom China has also joined the program as a strategic partner to provide consulting services to those companies.

"The Chinese market is so huge and important that a company is not qualified to label itself as an 'international' one if it has not done well in the Chinese market," said Alan Ai, general manager of WeWork China.

"Over time, we have seen some multinational companies confronting setbacks in China since the market here is so different. Therefore, one of the purposes of China Gateway is to help multinational companies avoid detours or mistakes in the country," he added.

When WeWork first stepped into the Chinese market three years ago, most of its overseas clients in the country then were specialized in consulting, retailing and the automobile sector.

But it has witnessed a growing number of technology and financial companies showing their willingness to come to China. Companies from North America, Europe, and Asia are the most interested in exploring the Chinese market, said Ai.

So far, WeWork has opened more than 70 working spaces in eight cities across China since its entry in 2016. Its latest space was opened in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, and began operations at the beginning of this month.

While multinational companies made up most of WeWork China's clientele early on, domestic companies now account for about 60 percent of WeWork China's members, with multinational companies accounting for the rest, said Ai.

Larger corporations, in addition to the small- and medium-sized enterprises which made up the majority of WeWork China's members, are showing increasing interest in the flexible working spaces that the company provides, according to Ai.

Industry leaders, such as e-commerce giant JD, automotive maker SAIC Motor and cosmetics retailer Sephora, have also chosen WeWork's working space for their employees.

To cater to the rapid development of the companies in China, WeWork has provided the services to large corporations to build their regional headquarters or other tailor-made services, Ai said.

Founded in New York in 2010, WeWork has opened 485 coworking spaces in 105 cities in the world by the end of the first quarter of 2019. It has so far sought 14 rounds of financing totaling $12.8 billion, said market information provider Crunchbase.

WeWork's Co-Founder and CEO Adam Neumann said in early January that the company is getting ready for an initial public offering. A report by New York-based research group CB Insights said in February that WeWork is now the world's fourth largest unicorn company, with a market valuation projected at $47 billion.

Source: China Daily

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