Coworking spaces

The future of work even in China

27 March 2019

"Sharing and Independence: the New Workplace" is the title of the 10th edition of Global Office Furniture Outlook, the seminar organized by CIFF and Edimotion during the 2nd phase of CIFF Guangzhou, where international and Chinese speakers are going to talk about and investigate the new work-spaces of free-lancers, self-employed people and small start-ups.

The way in which we work is constantly evolving; in recent years, thanks in part to new technologies, this change has definitely accelerated, leading more and more people to choose to work independently, taking advantage of their own professionalism or giving life to small businesses of a more entrepreneurial character in a completely autonomous way. 

This trend is certainly connected to the reduction of employees occurring in large companies, which now prioritize greater flexibility and easy access to the largest possible number of transversal skills at a global level. 

Thus, workers become the new nomads, finding their place in organized coworking environments, as well as cafés, public libraries and small shared private spaces.
Fertile spaces in which to create networks, avoid isolation, and access often unexpected stimuli.

Wework - Weihai Lu – Shanghai

Coworking is a new style of work where freelancers, startup founders, digital nomads, remote employees and self-employed workers share a common office, working together under one roof while using the same resources, for their independent activity or for different companies.

Coworking spaces address the needs of modern workers, by offering them significant benefits. Studies have shown that people working in coworking spaces have more purpose as they have control and flexibility in their work environment. As a result, they are happier, motivated, and see their work as more meaningful.

The need for coworking spaces is therefore growing rapidly worldwide. The number of global coworking spaces will grow from about 14,000 in 2017 to just over 30,000 in 2022 and the number of coworking members will grow from 1.7 million in 2017 to over 5 million in 2022.*

Coworking is growing around the world and most major cities have coworking spaces. Asia-Pacific, and especially China, have embraced coworking, becoming the world’s largest coworking market.

Unova Coworking - Shenzhen

Atlas Coworking – Guangzhou

The coworking sector in China has changed considerably over the past three years, emerging from near non-existence to a booming industry. More than 20% of the coworking spaces worldwide are now in China and it’s said that by 2022 China will become the world’s largest coworking market.

China is in the midst of transforming itself from "the world’s factory" into a global innovation center. At the same time, coworking has become an important vehicle to help China achieve its vision of "mass entrepreneurship and innovation”.

Wework - Leading Center – Chengdu

Naked Hub - Fuxing Lu – Shanghai

Wework – Shanghai Tower - Shanghai

The market size of the Chinese coworking industry grew from RMB1.4 billion in 2014 to RMB 5.47 in in 2017 and is expected to reach RMB 9.35 billion in 2019. By 2020 the number of spaces is expected to reach almost 5,000. ** 

Usual factors can explain the explosive growth and opportunities in China’s coworking sector: the shift towards a sharing economy, the boom of high technology, and the shift towards a more balanced life advocated by Millennials. Another highlighted factor is the support showed by the Chinese government to startups, that need suitable locations and coworking spaces usually serve this function very well. The sense of community and collaboration typical of Chinese culture must be strongly considered as well; collaboration is actually at the core of coworking, a majority of spaces themselves are designed to encourage interaction and characterized by being open and large.

WeWork - Xihu Coworking Space at the Vanke Center – Hangzhou

Wework - Riverside Business Complex Centre – Guangzhou

Coworking is the 4th industrial revolution and is going to replace the office. Multinational companies are beginning to discover the appeal of coworking spaces as a flexible office solution, and even the real estate industry is joining the revolution.
This major transformation is influencing the way of conceiving future workspaces and, consequently, office furniture and office equipment.

Naked Hub – Coworking PoHo - Hong Kong

KIC Inno Space - Shanghai

It’s a very important topic for the office furniture industry, which will be deepened during the seminar “Sharing and Independence: the New Workplace”, the 10th edition of Global Office Furniture Outlook, that will take place at the 43th CIFF Guangzhou – Office Show.
The appointment is for March 29th, 2019 at 2:00 pm (Lecture Room, Office Environment Theme Pavilion (hall 5.2 – D01).

* source: GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference)
** source: China Money Network