naked Hub merges with Singapore’s JustCo to take on industry leader WeWork

naked Hub
Photo: naked Hub website

Shanghai-based co-working space operator naked Hub has merged with Singapore’s JustCo to create the largest premium co-working space operator in Asia.

The merged entity will compete with industry leader WeWork, whose operational footprint in Asia extends to China, Hong Kong and India, with plans for establishing an outpost in Tokyo. WeWork is also planning to expand into Singapore.

naked Hub also announced its plans to raise a Series C round at a potential valuation of $1 billion before the end of August 2017, in partnership with China Renaissance, which is among Didi Chuxing’s backers.

The co-working arm of hospitality brand naked Group currently operates 21 co-working locations across China, Hong Kong and Vietnam, while WeWork maintains 14 co-work locations across North Asia.

While the two will currently operate as separate brands, the JustCo brand will eventually be integrated into naked Hub, which raised a $33 million Series B from Gaw Capital Partners.

Unlike WeWork, naked Hub’s strategy has seen it build partnerships with property developers to expand its footprint. The Chinese firm has entered into alliances with China’s Vanke Group and Minghong conglomerate, and it collaborates with Empire City in Vietnam.

Another competitor to both naked Hub and WeWork in Singapore is URWork, whose operational presence extends to 24 Chinese cities, and locations in Singapore, London, Taiwan and New York City, WeWork’s home market. URWork recently closed an investment from China’s Aikang Group earlier this month.

Following the merger with JustCo, naked Hub plans to add 41 new spaces by the end of 2017, including new locations in Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. The company estimates its revenue for this year from co-working to be $100 million and aims to operate 194 co-working spaces by 2020.

In a statement to the South China Morning Post, which reported the development, Grant Horsfield, founder and CEO of naked Group, said, “JustCo is the best operator in Southeast Asia and we see ourselves as the best in North Asia, so it was a natural partnership to create the biggest in Asia of premium co-working space. We need to grow quickly to keep up with the growth of the industry.”

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