WeWork to open its first co-working space in KL next year

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 10, 2018 - December 16, 2018.

From left: Fuad, Daman Land managing director Datuk Douglas Cheng and WeWork Southeast Asia director of engineering (technology) Beverly Dolor at the media briefing. Photo by Kenny Yap/The Edge

-A +A

US-based WeWork, a co-working space provider and operator, is set to open its first co-working office in Kuala Lumpur at the newly completed Equatorial Plaza in the first quarter of next year. It will offer 1,900 desks on five levels to its members.

According to WeWork, it has received good response. “Many companies have approached us, and one of the reasons we selected this particular building (Equatorial Plaza) is because it is centrally located and has easy access to public transport,” WeWork Southeast Asia managing director Turochas Fuad said at a media briefing last Wednesday.

He added that the space would be its largest in Southeast Asia.

WeWork will offer three types of services — Hot Desk, Dedicated Desk (fixed desk in a shared office) and Private Office. The rate for Hot Desk is RM950 per month while that for Dedicated Desk is RM1,150 per month. The rate for Private Office starts at an average RM1,200 per office per month, and the spaces come in various sizes to cater for different needs.

The rental duration is for a minimum of one month. Tenants will get to enjoy 24/7 access to the office, free flow of beverages, meeting room services, the use of printing machines, high-speed WiFi access and access to WeWork’s offices in 335 other locations around the world.

Moving forward, WeWork is looking to open more offices in the Damansara Heights and Bangsar areas. “Beyond that, we are going to look at other cities in Malaysia. When WeWork goes to a country, it doesn’t stay only in one city. We look at building a network across multiple cities in that country,” said Fuad.

WeWork’s establishment in Malaysia is part of its commitment to expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia. It is planning to open in 16 locations with more than 11,000 desks in the region within a year. Currently, it has offices in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok.

In Malaysia, it is partnering local company Daman Land Sdn Bhd to grow its business.

One of the first companies to sign up for the use of its Equatorial Plaza office is StashAway, a Singapore-based online wealth management platform.

Fuad said WeWork is unique because of its global network. “Our global network is the one thing that sets us apart from everyone else. Not only are we trying to help companies from around the world to enter Malaysia but we are also trying to figure out how to work closely with the government and local partners to help homegrown companies expand globally.”

WeWork’s members are a mix of freelancers, start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises. “The majority of them are freelancers and start-ups. In Singapore, where we have been for a year, the majority of our members are still SMEs and start-ups while 45% are large enterprises. We see something similar in Malaysia as the economic structure is the same as Singapore’s,” Faud said.

Founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in 2010, WeWork is headquartered in New York. Currently, it boasts more than 320,000 members and has offices in 335 locations across 83 cities in 24 countries.