by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
GLOBAL workspace firm WeWork, a platform that is currently available in six countries across South-East Asia and 27 globally with 400,000 members, is expanding its presence in Kuala Lumpur (KL) via the launch of its second space within the Mid Valley City later this year.
WeWork South-East Asia MD Turochas Fuad said the company plans to also maximise and expand across cities in Malaysia while taking a very localised approach, in not only building the spaces, but also in hearing what members across the world want.
“About 30% of our members globally are enterprises and some of them do ask for (co-working) spaces in Kuala Lumpur. We get a lot of data input from cities that are open now.
“As we plan to expand, we want to regionalise and serve the members’ needs because it is important to know what they want,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
Turochas said even though the group has a global playbook, each country has its own culture which the company would incorporate into its spaces and services.
“We actually engage in-house designers and architectures for our spaces, and we work with local suppliers and contractors, for example furniture. So, we are able to reduce capital expenditure and at the same time, help our members feel at home even if they are travelling,” he said.
WeWork will also continue to learn, tweak and improve its services. Turochas said the platform does not just provide a real-estate location as each outlet is designed based on the usage of big data and analytics, as well as experience from when they first opened in New York City in 2010.
“Big data is very important to us, we use it to understand how meeting rooms are used — what is the peak time people would use our spaces and how much fresh air to pump in.
“This is so as we can optimise cost and cater to what people really look for,” he said.
He added that they have seen a growing trend of technology and innovation industries taking up their spaces globally.
“Sectors like services and media are also quite popular. We have seen the interest level peaking for many industries down to the oil and gas sector,” he said.
He noted that larger companies have started to see the need to disrupt themselves in order to retain good talent.
“When companies change the landscape of their work environment and move from traditional ones, it gives the brand an uplift. And then, it boils down to increased productivity,” Turochas said.
Meanwhile, WeWork launched its largest space in South-East Asia at the Equatorial Plaza in KL yesterday, its first space in Malaysia.
Turochas said the strategic location of the space combined with its large footprint has seen a good and healthy take-up rate so far.
“Our space is across five floors and we cater to every need, whether the product is a hot desk, a single meeting room or an entire floor,” he said.
According to Turochas, a fair amount had been invested in this space to ensure members would feel welcome without slacking on the quality factor of it.
“We work closely with landlords. As you know, Datuk Douglas Cheng of Daman Land (Sdn Bhd) is a co-investor in all the capital and operation investment.
“Because we have engaged someone local, we are able to localise significantly and leverage on the networks available here, thus leading to a reduction in cost and eventually in our pricing for our members,” he said.
He added that the location is important as it is proven that in Singapore, more than 80% of WeWork’s members use the public transportation system to get to their spaces.
“We are also hoping that in nine or 10 months, we will be able to see the same results with our Malaysian members,” Turochas said.
The company is expected to look into other areas, including Bangsar and Petaling Jaya.