[THE INVESTOR] Co-working space giant WeWork will launch an office in the port city of Busan next year in a bid to expand its operations outside the nation’s capital Seoul, according to news reports on Oct. 18.
Matthew Shampine, general manager of WeWork Korea, and Busan Mayor Oh Geo-don have reportedly agreed to cooperate to open the new shared office space and create jobs in the city.
Matthew Shampine, WeWork Korea general manager.
WeWork Labs opens first Asian operation in Seoul
The latest partnership comes amid the central government’s push to create jobs.
“I hope WeWork’s entry into Busan can vitalize the sharing economy and create new jobs here,” said Oh in a statement after the meeting.
The US co-working firm said in a report in May that its services create an 10,000 jobs for an equal number of WeWork members through direct and indirect spending.
Confirming the agreement, WeWork Korea said the exact location and opening date have not been finalized yet.
Since opening its first office in Seoul in 2016, WeWork has been fast expanding its presence here. It currently has 10 offices up and running in Seoul, including those in Gwanghwamun, Euljiro and Gangnam.
Early stage startups as well as big conglomerates, including LG Life Sciences, and SK C&C Holdings, are utilizing WeWork’s co-working services.
As of this month, the US$20-billion company houses 15,000 employees from different companies in Seoul, up from 5,500 in September last year. It has more than 300 sites in 77 global cities.
The New York-headquartered company is facing increasing challenges from local co-working firms, such as Fast Five, Rehoboth and Regus. As of August this year, the number of co-working companies in Korea stood at 54.
Korea’s office sharing market is forecast to grow 95 percent annually from 2018 to 2020 with more conglomerates entering the segment, according to real estate data agency Genstar.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)