Like its previous versions, the ongoing World Internet Conference in Wuzhen has attracted the biggest names in China’s tech industry. Official meetings and keynotes aside, more casual business dinners, which gather China’s, or even the world’s richest technology tycoons, offered precious opportunities for them to get connected and share insights. It’s in China after all, where a banquet is crucial in the deal-making process.
While some banquets shed light on the alliance between local tech giants, others may be more intriguing and will invoke different interpretations from lookers. The following picture, which was taken this Monday at Wuzhen, falls in the second category. It depicted perfect table harmony between WeWork execs—co-founder Adam Neumann and vice chairman Michael Gross—and URwork founder Mao Daqing.
After all the disputes between WeWork and URWork, in which the former filed a litigation against its Chinese rival for trademark infringement and unfair competition, it may be hard to believe that the men behind the two rivals would be dining at the same table and sharing a toast.
The picture would easily send us to different speculations from a more friendly settlement about the litigation, or even possible cooperation between the two top shared space and community managers in the world. A recent visit from Adam Neumann and Michael Gross to URWork drew the two firms to more friendly terms.
But it seems too hasty to jump to any conclusions like that. “It’s just a casual meeting between the founders, who know each other, working in the same industry and happen to attend the same occasion. That’s all. There’s no further business indications,” URWork’s spokeswoman told TechNode. WeWork China declined to comment.
China is the most heated battlefield for co-working operators in the past year. After quick expansion, all the competitors in this industry are trying to differentiate in different markets and sectors.
URWork stays focused where co-working first boomed—internet plus and pan-internet companies and is trying to make forays into lower-tier cities, said company CSO Zhang Peng at TechCrunch Shanghai. On the other hand, WeWork is betting on widespread adoption of new workplace models across industries and companies of all sizes to bring diversity to the community. Tier-one and tier-two cities are still its main focus, WeWork managing director Christian Lee told TechNode.