China’s co-working major Ucommune said to seek $200m in financing

Ucommune in Choyang, Beijing

China’s largest coworking firm, Ucommune, is seeking to raise $200 million in financing to expand its global operations, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, in another sign of the growing market for shared office space.

RockTree Capital, the sole foreign investor in Ucommune, is seeking to raise $200 million from both Chinese and international investors to expand the coworking firm’s operations globally, a source with knowledge of the financing plans told Reuters.

RockTree, according to the source, is seeking one or two international partners to join the venture.

Chinese internet retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, through one of its units, is also an investor in Ucommune.

NEW YORK EXPANSION

Ucommune officially opened its first location in New York City on Wednesday as it seeks a bigger U.S. presence to tap into cross-border trade and help businesses with the need for an American or Chinese partner.

Flexible workspace has been growing at an average annual rate of 23 percent since 2010, according to Jones Lang Lasalle Inc, and including coworking is now the primary growth driver in the U.S. office market.

Ucommune (Beijing) Venture Investment Co Ltd opened the New York financial district site with Serendipity Labs, a U.S. firm that is rolling out a nationwide network of more than 125 coworking sites over the next three years.

The company already has sites in San Francisco and Los Angeles and is looking to partner again with Serendipity Labs in a U.S. city that has still to be announced, said Daqing Mao, chairman and chief executive of the Beijing-based company, in an interview with Reuters.

New York is viewed as a fintech capital where blockchain and finance converge, and Chinese companies want to be linked into that network, according to Ucommune. The company envisions American companies using its host of sites in 30 Chinese cities as well.

The New York opening follows two acquisitions in China this year that along with a Series C round of funding lifted the company’s valuation to about $ 1.7 billion, Ucommune said.

The company’s focus outside of China is Southeast Asia, where it has sites in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei, and plans to open sites in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, Mao said.

While the coworking leader in China, Ucommune has only about 7 percent of that market, he said.

“For us it’s all about building an ecosystem,” Mao said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.