Office Sharing Spreads Throughout Southeast Asia

In Bangkok, a new, co-working office space owned by the Amsterdam-based Spaces is will be opening in February 2018, one of many office sharing spaces taking up prime office & retail space not only across Thailand, but across the whole Southeast Asian region.

For Spaces, a subsidiary of Switzerland’s International Workplace Group, this new site is their first foray into Thailand, but the second location for the company in the region, having set up in Singapore back in 2016. Among Spaces’ many clients are giants like Booking.com, GoPro and PayPal, among others. It currently has plans to increase their 80 sites to 250, with the Southeast Asian market to include Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, to name a few.

Office sharing started in North America as an effect of the startup culture, providing entrepreneurs with prime office & retail space for a fraction of the usual cost. In Southeast Asia, co-working is still in its infancy, but with expatriates and local entrepreneurs driving up demand, the office sharing market is set to grow.

CB Insights, a managing consulting firm, estimates that co-working spaces could make up 15% of the Southeast Asia’s prime office & retail space by 2030; compared to 2018’s 5%s. Cushman & Wakefield, meanwhile, forecast that co-working space demand across Asia will grow at about 10-15% annually.

Meanwhile, in other areas in Southeast Asia, Common Ground, a Malaysian startup firm, opened its very first co-working space in Kuala Lumpur at March of 2017, and, according to the company, the 17,000ft2 of space they managed to hit full occupancy within four months. They are just one of many co-working space operators across the country providing supply for the region.

Property consultancy firm CBRE published a report of co-working space, detailing costs, and giving out their advice for those moving into the co-working operation market. According to them, market operators need to keep their costs in check, as well as keep an eye on supply-demand dynamics, with competition in the field intensifying as more and more co-working spaces open across Southeast Asia. This increase in supply will drive up occupancy costs and clamp down profit margins.

CBRE says that the most important points for running a co-working space is building a community, providing an experience, and opportunities for both learning and profit for users.