Technology is a key growth driver for WeWork: Christian Lee
The trend of co-working spaces is catching up fast in Indian metros. These co-working spaces have disrupted the traditional office. Whilst, technology plays an intrinsic role in making these swanky and cool looking virtual offices a hotspot, WeWork has been at the forefront of leading this revolution. WeWork was founded in 2010 with a vision to build more than just beautiful, shared office spaces. Since entering Asia, WeWork has created the physical-world equivalent of a digital platform, which provides organisations of any size with flexible space, on-demand services, and a built-in, global community, with deep integration of technology into the physical space to deliver a seamless online and offline experience.
The company has been on a geo-expansion ride. After making strong inroads in India, it has recently entered into the China market. It has partnered with Chinese technology behemoth Alibaba. Currently, WeWork has a strong presence in Asia across Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, and India. Particularly in India, WeWork has scaled to 21 locations including Mumbai, Gurugram, and Bengaluru in just around 20 months since its launch in India.
Talking about the significance of technology partnership with Alibaba, Christian Lee, Vice Chairman, WeWork Asia says, “The partnership is significant to WeWork, because we ourselves have been through the journey of setting up and scaling our business in China. After three years of operations in China, we now have over 70 locations across eight cities in the Greater China region. This proves that our strategy of ‘In China, for China, with China and beyond China’ is successful, and we are grateful to be able to share our experience and help more companies in the world to tap into the tremendous opportunities in the China market. Meanwhile, Alibaba Cloud will supply the cloud and data intelligence technologies, cross-border IT infrastructure, as well as enterprise solutions tailored to different sectors.”
Digitisation at WeWork
Digital transformation is certainly gaining grounds in all parts of the world and WeWork is excited to witness the effect of digitisation to the WeWork economy and its members’ innovations. “Our platform has led to network effects at both the individual and institutional levels, as our members have flourished, and with their success, entrepreneurs have become small businesses, and then big enterprises. With 1 in 8 first-time entrepreneurs representing WeWork members globally, we have cultivated a community of entrepreneurs who can learn from each other and accelerate their growth, both virtually via our mobile applications and physically within our workspace,” he says.
According to the Global Impact Report, over 77 per cent of the WeWork members in Bengaluru are in the innovation economy, while Delhi comes next as 53 per cent members are in the innovation economy. As flexibility and low capital commitment encourages entrepreneurship, we see 17 per cent, 20 per cent and 11 per cent of WeWork entrepreneur-members in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi repectively to be pursuing their first startup project at WeWork.
WeWork strives to localise offerings according to different market needs, with the help of technology such as mobile applications to understand the market deeper and tailor solutions according to members’ needs. Furthermore, to support its growth, the company is building technology to automate design, construction, and opening processes at scale.
“That means investing in design systems, inventory management, workflow/collaboration tools, robotics, and machine learning to automate as much as we can. The more we can automate, the more attractive our service is to enterprises who want on-time, beautiful, and cost-effective options for their space needs,” adds Lee.
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