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Chinese co-working company receives US$178M capital injection for expansion

UrWork, WeWork Cos.' competitor in China, raised US$178 million of capital, which will be channeled toward the company's "global expansion and technology upgrading," according to its Founder and CEO Mao Daqing.

The capital injection was sourced from companies like Beijing Capital Land Ltd., Star Group, Beijing Aikang Group and Prosperity Holdings. Beijing Capital Land President Tang Jun said the investment was meant to refresh its business model and pad up its property portfolio with "differentiated additions," with the two companies planning to partner up in transforming their stock assets and sharing resources.

Star Group also said it was enticed to pour capital into UrWork as it anticipated the total market capitalization of the shared space sector would hit US$335 billion, carrying a 36% year-to-year growth potential.

The funding flowed in just as UrWork made its maiden foray off Chinese shores, opening up a branch in Singapore's tech and science district in late-June. There, it will work with CapitaLand Ltd. and the country's International Enterprise, or IE, government authority to seek out co-working spaces. Under that agreement, CapitaLand will provide the spaces for new co-working centers at its malls in Singapore and China, while IE will help to connect small and medium enterprises in the Lion City with those potential centers.

A JLL report noted that there is growing demand for co-working spaces in China, with the complementing supply also increasing as more co-working spaces anchor some retail malls in the country. The Aug. 8 report cited upwards of 500 co-working sites sprouting up in major Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing in 2016, compared to "just a few" in 2015.