Worldwide, WeWork is among the largest players in the coworking space market, becoming one of the most valuable startups in the world. Notably, the cities with the highest stock of flexible workspace are dominated by large operators. However, the U.S. based flexible office provider has to share the market with strong-performing domestic operators in the Asia Pacific region. Major names include Ucommune, CoHive and JustCo. While larger international operators try to stay competitive through mergers and acquisitions with coworking space providers in the region, domestic independent companies intent to increase their market share by teaming up with one another.
One major benefit for using coworking spaces is the lower price. When comparing flexible space with conventional office renting, users can save more than half of the cost, for instance, in Hong Kong. This is also true for cities like Tokyo, where one flexible workstation costs around 10 thousand U.S. dollars a year while the cost for conventional workstations amount to approximately 18 thousand U.S. dollars annually. Especially for startups that could not afford long-term commitment with more expensive conventional office operators, coworking spaces were a cost-effective solution.
Since the beginning, coworking spaces have been mostly used by freelancers. Asia, most of all, has always been a popular destination for digital nomads and similar types of workers. Gradually, employers and employees have started to join this movement of working in shared office spaces in the past years as well. For example, figures indicated that over half of the flexible workspace tenants in Vietnam were start-up founders and entrepreneurs while only 14 percent of coworking space users were freelancers in 2017. Overall, flexible workspaces have also gained popularity among corporations. This is not only cheaper but has other benefits for its users such as the social atmosphere, the interaction with others and the community feeling. Ideally, coworking spaces should provide fast internet connections and networking opportunities for its members while still ensuring that users have their own privacy and quiet working station if needed to be able to focus on their work.