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China’s start-up culture and the influence of millennials are key factors in coworking boom, says JLL

New report from real estate consultancy outlines key trends driving shift in China’s work culture

​Singapore, 3 November 2016 – China is in the midst of a coworking boom driven by an increasing number of startups and the rise of the millennial workforce, according to a new report by JLL. The concept of coworking – where people who are self-employed or working for different employers, share a space – has been gaining popularity in Europe and the US for more than a decade, but is only now taking off in Asia, and particularly in China.

JLL's whitepaper identifies a number of factors behind the recent proliferation of coworking spaces in China's biggest cities. In particular, the government's encouragement of mass entrepreneurship is cultivating small-scale domestic startups that are increasing the tenants of coworking spaces. In addition, as millennials become more dominant in the workforce, their values of work-life balance and flexible hours are drawing them towards coworking solutions. However, coworking has also caught on with corporates as a more flexible alternative to traditional office space.

"The advantages that coworking offers fit well with a strategic push by many companies to increase flexibility, improve talent retention and recruiting, and build a sense of community," says Joe Zhou, Head of Research, JLL China. "The concept of coworking emphasises creating a space that supports collaboration, openness, knowledge-sharing, innovation, and user experience. While these spaces were nearly non-existent in China previously, they have recently grown exponentially in Beijing and Shanghai, with more than 500 coworking sites being set up over the past 18 months."

Today, China is home to some of the best-known firms in the coworking sector such as US-based WeWork – which officially entered China in 2016, and has already secured three locations in Shanghai – and 3Q, launched by real estate giant SOHO China in 2015.

Other countries in Asia Pacific, such as Singapore, are starting to embrace this trend within the banking sector, where DBS, Visa, OCBC and Standard Chartered have set aside coworking spaces to stimulate greater idea-sharing among employees. Meanwhile, in Bangkok, a number of new coworking operators are springing up, offering comfortable environments that are tailored to the target demographic in trendy neighbourhoods.

"Successful coworking allows companies to engage with their employees, while its flexibility and mobility are especially valuable for businesses with high concentrations of younger talent pools," says Claire Stephens, Head of Workplace Strategy, JLL China. "As the demand for collaborative workplace solutions grows around the world, the number of coworking members is expected to grow from less than 1 million in 2016 to over 3.8 million in 2020."

Download JLL's report 'Coworking: Fad or fixture?' here.

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About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $59.1 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

JLL has over 50 years of experience in Asia Pacific, with 34,000 employees operating in 92 offices in 16 countries across the region. The firm won 15 awards at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific in 2016 and was named number one real estate advisor in Asia at the 2015 Euromoney Real Estate Awards. ​