We’ve been visiting several collaborative workplaces in Hong Kong recently, and are really excited to see that more people are joining to serve the startups and help develop this community. We had 1,000 square feet of co-workspace in January 2012, and look at us now with almost 20 spaces all over the city –  and we will have 150,000 square feet by the end of this year. The community is growing and we need more offices and venues to get things done. Today we stopped by another one locating at Fo Tan industrial area – Startup Commune, which according to its founder offers the Lowest workplace rent in Hong Kong.

First built up in 2011 by the founder of Lakoo Games, this place has always kept a low profile, which is maybe the reason why most people have never heard of it before. (Don’t worry – with us you won’t miss anything like this) Startup Commune currently has 18 tables in 1200 square feet and offers a HK$980(negotiable) monthly rent to the startups and entrepreneurs. Yes, you read this right. This is definitely the lowest rent for workplaces in Hong Kong as far as we know.

The man behind the desks – Ben Crox is a serial entrepreneur and also the event organizer of Hong Kong Barcamp and Startup Weekend Hong Kong. Ben is totally an entrepreneurship-infused techie guy. He started his first business after graduation selling 3G security systems and has worked on projects in various fields through the years.

“I think there are three types of co-working spaces: the incubation ones that breeding startups, the creative space that gather like-minded people and the pure collaborative workplaces like Startup Commune.” Ben described Startup Commune as a stable and down-to-earth space where entrepreneurs can actually work on something here.“ After the innovation, it’s all about survival.”

Starting up a company is never an easy thing to do. Though we hear inspiring successful stories happening everywhere, we all know that the fancy legends come from countless failures and pains. Ben Crox is fully aware of it, after years of experience in this industry seeing the rise and falls of Hong Kong startup scene, he knows what the Hong Kong startups need. Plus Startup Commune also offers accounting service at the space which is quite useful for early stage small companies.

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“Some of the startups are just flying up in the air, and they really need to come down to earth before hurting themselves. The showy stuff and glamorous ambitions are not gonna stay, soon startups will soon find themselves facing reality problems – which is the crucial thing in starting up a business.” Ben believes that after the first phase of idea sparkling, the startups need to calm down and actually work on the ideas. He hopes the startups can create something real rather than bubbles.

Ben also told us his next step is to hold monthly events in the Startup Commune, but with everything done member-oriented. “The events topic depends on our members. They can have topic seminars, sharing lunch or networking event. However, I insist that everything should be done as our members like, for instance, most engineers and techie guys don’t love networking but prefer a quite place to work on their research. If that happens, we should not disturb by holding too many events as I see.”

By the way for those who need to connect China and manufactures, Startup Commune has the shortest cut to Shenzhen. Oh, and don’t forget the awesome artistic community in Fo Tan if you are a creativity-focused startup.


Twitter: @scommune
Facebook: Startup Commune
weibo: @startupcommune
Address: 4E,33 Au Pui Wan St, Fo Tan
Ben Crox: chief@startupcommune.org

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at) technode.com

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