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Regus still bullish on PHL market

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Lars Wittig
Lars Wittig, Regus Philippines country manager

By Vincent Mariel P. Galang

REGUS Philippines is confident of maintaining its leadership position in the flexible workspace industry, despite the entry of new players and the expansion of existing competitors.

Lars Wittig, Regus Philippines country manager, said the company expects to further expand this year, as demand for flexible workspaces is seen to grow.

“Challenged? No. I think it is very important for the entire industry that we get as much focus on us as possible, and when the growth is as fast as we see globally I don’t feel pressured at all. I think it’s only natural that there are more who will try, but also benefit from this and I can say this with confidence that we are not threatened,” he told BusinessWorld in a interview last Dec. 21.

Part of the International Workplace Group (IWG), Regus is said to have established the first flexible workspace in the Philippines in 1999.

The company has expanded rapidly in the last few years, bringing to 30 the number of facilities in the country. Most are located in Metro Manila, while some are in Davao, Cebu, and Clark.

Mr. Wittig said Regus receives around 1,400 inquiries per month, 33% higher year-to-date.

He believes what sets Regus apart is how the space is used to help the company’s employees be more productive.

“We look at the way people work, productivity and preferences. This is just even more a human resource issue as it is a financial perspective. I mean, when I look at my customers, I need to make the CEO happy and he is only happy if both his HR director and his Finance director are happy. It has to make sense on the bottom line and it has to make sense for the people, so that the people will become more productive,” Mr. Wittig said.

FOREIGN COMPETITORS
In recent months, new foreign players entered the Philippines, particularly US-based WeWork, Malaysia’s Common Ground, Hong Kong’s Compass Offices, and Singapore’s CEO Suite.

“The newcomers from abroad, it’s natural because the market is growing so fast thus we will see a number of different providers from abroad… Are they bringing something new to the market? Not really, because when it comes to flexible working, we have Regus. We have a high network with almost thirty locations. When it comes to major co-working, we are the pioneers with Spaces,” Mr. Wittig said.

Spaces is another co-working space brand under IWG. Its first branch, Spaces World Plaza, occupies 3,200 square meters (sq.m.) of workspace at World Plaza building along 5th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City. Another Spaces hub opened in Makati City.

IWG also has operates other brands like No18, OpenOffice, Basepoint Business Centers, and Signature.