COMMERCIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Flexible working spaces in Hong Kong doubled in past three years

There are more than 50 operators covering over 1m sq ft in land area.

Flexible working spaces continue to gain traction in Hong Kong and eat up market share in the city’s heated office sector as their number ballooned 50% in the past three years, according to real estate consultant JLL.

There are currently more than 50 flexible workspace operators in over 80 locations in the city, covering over 1m sq ft in land area.

“Notwithstanding that co-working is still a relatively new concept in Hong Kong, we still see plenty of room for growth ahead with many operators, especially those from mainland China, still eager to establish a foothold in the city,” said Denis Ma, head of research at JLL Hong Kong.

Amidst staggering office rental costs in Central and tight vacancy rates, coworking operators have been jumping on the decentralisation trend and moving to emerging office districts like Kowloon East.

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Co-working buoyed office leasing demand in Q1, according to CBRE, after operators committed to 143,3000 sq ft of new space in Hong Kong Island which represents almost 60% of total net absorption in the area. Notable transactions include the lease of US coworking operator Wework of 48,600 sq ft unit in Cityplaza Three for its first venture into Hong Kong East.

Co-working spaces also established strong footholds in Kowloon and New Territories with PRC brand ATLAS establishing its first centre in Hong Kong at a 35,400 sq ft unit in The Gateway in Tsim Sha Tsui. Another Mainland-based operator Naked Hub similarly leased two top floors worth 33,500 sq ft in Two Harbour Square for its first location in Kowloon.

Flexible work spaces could easily account for a third of global corporate commercial property portfolios by 2030, JLL estimates, as government continues to stimulate entrepreneurship to offset slow growth in traditional industries like manufacturing.

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