By Vincent Mariel P. Galang
NEW YORK-BASED co-working space provider is expanding in the Philippines with the opening of its first hub in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City next month.
During its launch on Thursday, WeWork officials said the co-working space occupy two floors of Uptown Bonifacio Tower Three which can accommodate 800 members.
WeWork is targeting freelancers, start-up companies, local and multi-national companies, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Turochas Fuad, managing director of WeWork for Southeast Asia, said the company’s entry into the Philippines aims to “change and humanize and reimagine the way we work, how we live, and how we connect with one another.”
The Philippines is WeWork’s fourth market in Southeast Asia, after Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
“Besides the physical space… We spent a lot of resources and time to really develop a space that is not optimized for usage but really… to innovate and to really make people feel at home, at ease and make them a lot more productive, to foster innovation, but we realize that those things are also not that difficult for other companies to achieve. So the value that we added is the community and the ecosystem that we have developed for the last eight years. So, (we are) allowing the Philippine market to really tap into the global network that we have and vice versa,” Mr. Fuad said.
Amenities of a WeWork hub include community bars, phone booths, WiFi, and a beer tap. Also, the breakout areas will have Filipino-inspired designs.
“Typical amenities would include communal area… typical lunch pantry, coffee, water, internet is always on, 24/7, and we’re looking to have a beer tap as well… Its always part of our offering around the globe… not to encourage people to drink alcohol but it’s a way for people to get together, to mingle, and get around the pantry area… get to know each other better. Out of that, 70% of our members… they do collaborate with one another,” Mr. Fuad told BusinessWorld.
What sets WeWork’s space apart from other co-working spaces is that they make sure to put a local touch in its spaces.
“One thing in particularly very unique about this space is… we understand the Filipino culture. It’s a culture that adopts art, especially music, so we are actually putting a karaoke room with a drum set as a music instrument for people to really do bit of leisure stuff after work where they can sing together, they can play music together, and so on,” Mr. Fuad said.
Members can also enjoy an app where they can make bookings for any WeWork location, and check announcements of events. Using the app, members can keep track of how much time they are spending on each desk or in meeting rooms, and know if their clients or guests have arrived.
Founded in New York City in 2010, WeWork has 287 locations in 77 cities in the United States, Netherlands, Chile, Canada, Germany, Singapore, and South Korea, among others. The largest hub is located in New York City with 4,500 members.
By first quarter of 2019, WeWork is planning to open a hub in Makati City.
In Southeast Asia, WeWork targets to open their first hubs in Bangkok, Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by the end of the year.
By Vincent Mariel P. Galang