China’s Tencent ops for co-working space for first office in Singapore

Tencent Holding Ltd

Tencent Holdings Ltd. has chosen a co-working space for its first office in Singapore, joining other Chinese tech giants in using the city state for a launching pad into the rest of Asia.

The WeChat owner will have almost 200 seats at JustCo’s co-working space in OCBC Centre East at Raffles Place, according to people familiar with the plans, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. The space amounts to 10,000 square feet (929 square meters).

The lease runs for one year, giving China’s largest social media and video-gaming company flexibility to seek a larger space as it adds staff, the people said. Tencent said in September that it would open an office in Singapore.

Representatives for Tencent and JustCo didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The deal paves the way for Tencent to make Singapore its beachhead for a push into Southeast Asia. Bytedance Ltd., the owner of popular video app TikTok, is also expanding its office space in the city-state, while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. earlier this year bought a 50% stake in a Singapore office tower.

The demand from Chinese tech firms could also boost Singapore’s office market, which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, with some companies vacating leases and landlords forced to cut rents. Tech firms have taken up 350,000 square feet of office space in new leases and expansions this year, and that could rise to 400,000 to 500,000 square feet next year, Cushman & Wakefield estimates.

Singapore is seen as an attractive base as it provides a gateway to Southeast Asia’s 650 million smartphone-savvy population. It also offers relative political stability and developed financial and legal systems.

China’s tech giants are increasingly turning their attention to the region amid growing hostility from the U.S. and India. The Trump administration wants to remove WeChat from mobile app stores in the U.S. and impose other restrictions, though a court has blocked the move. India has barred the company’s hit games “PUBG Mobile” and “Arena of Valor.”

Choosing a co-working space gives companies “the advantage to be flexible in markets where headcount growth is unclear and there is a possibility that business can grow so quickly that they run out of space,” said Christine Li, head of research and business development services for Southeast Asia at Cushman. It’s a common strategy for tech firms entering a new market, with Alibaba and Facebook having done so when they started in Singapore.

Bloomberg

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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.