UR Work partners on first NYC office

By Ruinan Zhang in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-07-11 10:11

Beijing-based shared-workspace startup UR Work, a rival of WeWork, teamed up with Serendipity Labs on Monday to announce a planned 34,000-square-foot space in the heart of Manhattan's Financial District.

The co-branded space at One Chase Manhattan Plaza tower on 28 Liberty Street, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd, is expected to open in October.

UR Work was founded in 2015 and was most recently valued at $1.3 billion after a merger with its domestic rival, New Space. Among its financial backers are Sequoia

Capital China and Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial.

In the US, WeWork is based in New York. It is valued at $16.9 billion and has 35 locations in Manhattan and 14 in Los Angeles, according to its corporate website.

WeWork has eight locations in China, including five in Shanghai and three in Beijing.

UR Work said it will open its second US location in Los Angeles in the fourth quarter.

It has 78 offices in more than 20 cities in China and Singapore and plans to boost that number to 150 venues in 35 cities within the next three years.

UR Work will be facing stiff competition in an increasingly crowded market, according to a 2016 report by property consultancy JLL. It noted that the shared-office industry in the US is dominated by WeWork and Luxembourg-based Regus, which together account for nearly 80 percent of shared office space leased across the country.

UR Work's partnership with Serendipity Labs allows both companies to expand their locations to their members in China and the US through a connected reservation system.

"By creating this alliance with UR Work, we can have access to beyond our North America network into China without moving employees and capital to there," said John Arenas, CEO and founder of Serendipity Labs. "For UR Work, it's also the same."

Arenas said that while UR Work provides space and professional services to small businesses and startups, Serendipity Labs' client base is geared toward established companies.

"But we notice that companies that are already members of UR Work who are wishing to expand to the US will be more like established companies in the client pools of UR Work," he said.

"Our members who wish to do business in the US can expect an upscale, hospitality-based experience with Serendipity Labs," UR Work CEO and founder Mao Daqing said in a press release.

Some staff at the Manhattan location will speak Mandarin, and it will offer a customized menu for Chinese members, Arenas said.

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