The co-working boom of Southeast Asia [market analysis]

Co-working in Southeast Asia

Co-working has emerged as a new and interesting method for independents, startups, entrepreneurs and even certain multinationals to manage their work habits and spaces. Rapidly expanding throughout Southeast Asia, co-working is attracting the appetites of global leaders of this new industry in the region.

Co-working is generally used by entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small companies to manage their work space in a flexible and convenient way. It allows them to work at minimal costs in an open and dynamic environment that foments creativity and exchange with others, and also to easily scale operations up or down.

These new spaces dedicated to work, often associated with cafés or cafeterias, which often also provide relaxing areas as well as events dedicated to networking and sharing experience, have been burgeoning throughout Southeast Asia in recent years. This success drives the interests of many local and foreign businesses to provide co-working services and accompanying activities to local workers.

The fast growing market of co-working in Southeast Asia

To capitalize on the trend regionally, WeWork, an American multinational specialized in co-working, has acquired the Singaporean co-working space company SpaceMob. Its goal is to come to Southeast Asia and South Korea by acquiring talents and expertise locally, investing 500 million US $ to expand in the region. The following video gives more details on the market and WeWork’s ambitions.

One of the key aspects of their success in the region is to try and seduce large companies who would need to externalize employees to be more flexible. By expanding their offer to a whole new segment of customers, WeWork hopes to grow the demand for its services outside of its usual customers base.

Co-working market overview in Southeast Asian

Not only does this enthusiasm for co-working attract appetites from foreign companies, Southeast Asian companies also venture into this new flexible way of working. From local cafés to larger co-working companies and real estate giants like CapitaLand, one of the largest companies in Singapore, all intend to grab a share of this booming market.

With an estimated 15% of all offices in Southeast Asia occupied by co-working space by 2030, a four-fold growth is already expected from 2016 to 2020 . The following document dives deeper into the regional market with key numbers and trends, as well as presentation of some major actors and their activities.

Co-working in Southeast Asia 2016 – summary

  • Introduction – slide 3
  • The transition towards flexibility – slide 4
  • The Southeast Asian case – slide 5
  • All about the timing – slide 8
  • Total co-working supply and market size – slide 12
  • The vast and diverse market – slide 16
    • The benefits of co-working spaces – slide 17
    • Businesses that use co-working spaces – slide 20
  • Regional identity – slide 22
    • Market statistics in Southeast Asia – slide 25

Video by Bloomberg Technology from August 2017 and presentation by Nicole Adarme from October 2016

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