Looking for a co-working space in Shanghai? Check out these spots.

Co-working in China is in full bloom thanks to the changes in the way people work and its potential to connect Chinese and foreign firms. The rising popularity of co-working spaces is also being confirmed with the influx of capital. As the market shifts to maturity, we are bound to see more differentiation with spaces catering to specialized needs—and that is great news for users.

Beijing has a fast-developing co-working scene. Zhang Peng, Chief Strategy Officer of URWork, said at an even in September 2017 that 3% of Beijing office space is now made up of co-working hubs.

To help you find out which co-working space is the right one for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best spaces in Beijing, from cheap(ish) and cheerful to full-on office replacements.

1. DayDayUp (天天上)

Image Credit: DayDayUp
Image Credit: DayDayUp

Coffee: Free coffee and fruit tea

Location: 3 locations in Beijing

Price: Prices depend on the office, but the Sanlitun space offers a special entry price of RMB 688 per month. Other prices are RMB 3,500 a month for open desk and RMB 13,000 a month for a whole office

Good for: International and local innovators and startups looking for accelerators

Aside from the company’s Innovation Program which brings together Chinese and international startups, corporates, and investors from Industry 4.0, smart city, mobility, and healthcare, DayDay Up also provides accelerator programs, business matching events, and financial advisory services. It’s latest big project is the Israeli innovation accelerator program which started in July.

According to DayDayUp’s co-founder Jerome Scola, the company’s main task is connecting global and local companies. The company is helping big foreign companies such as Deutsche Telekom and BMW find startups. On the other hand, it is also helping local tech giants such as Tencent and Baidu find projects and talents abroad.

DayDayUp has spaces in Sanlitun, Zhongguancun, and Qianmen with three more in other cities, including San Francisco. They are hoping to open a new space in Israel soon.

2. Cowork  (酷窝)

cowork beijing

Coffee: Yes, RMB 20 and above

Price: Open desk starting from RMB 1,200 a month, private offices from RMB 2,200 a month

Location: Guanghua SOHO, Chaoyang District with offices in 8 more cities in China

Good for: Young people looking to connect

This co-working space English name is not very original but what distinguishes Cowork from other competitors is its very own app. The Cowork app serves as a social platform for like-minded business people as well as a tool for customer service and managing payments. According to the company, Cowork aims to create an elite business, social, and resource sharing platform. The Beijing space organizes plenty of events, while Friday is movie night with screenings in the cafe area. We wish they would open the door to that awesome-looking terrace in Guanhua SOHO too.

In March 2017, Cowork merged with WEPLUS to form a joint office group. The company recently established a financial technology innovation center in Shanghai in cooperation with Tsinghua Asset Management Group.

3. Tech Temple (科技寺)

Tech Temple co-working

Coffee: Tea and coffee starting from RMB 15 with light meals available

Price: Around RMB 2,000/month depending on the location

Location: 4 locations in Beijing

Good for: Technology and lifestyle entrepreneurs

With the motto Startup Zen, Tech Temple has eight branches around China and each of them has its unique flavor. As co-founder and CMO of Tech Temple Rekko Zuo noted, those who choose Sanlitun are different from those who prefer Wangjing. Tech Temple’s mission is to welcome everyone, help them mingle with like-minded people, and create something new.

This year, Tech Temple established a new incubator called LifeTemple dedicated to lifestyle projects and brands. The company plans to add showrooms and counters to its new spaces to give brands a chance to present their products. The decision was motivated by the recent trend caught by Tech Temple: an increasing number of startups tend to have internet DNA while their products are lifestyle oriented. The new incubator also means that visitors will have a chance to try new food and drinks from Tech Temple’s food lab.

4. WeWork

WeWork Beijing Wangjing

Coffee: FREE BEER. Really, they’ve got locally brewed Jing A beer on tap. There’s free semi-barrista level coffee machines and iced “fruit water.”

Price: Desks from RMB 1,750 a month, offices from RMB 3,500

Location: 3 locations across Beijing (Wangjing, Guanghua Lu, Siyunsi)

Good for: Companies from small through to large: whole floors are available with separate reception. Very limited space for individuals

This US brand-leader just opened its seventh branch in China, in Wangjing—slightly to the northeast of the center of Beijing—to tap into this smart business district not far from the airport. WeWork is perhaps the model that many local operations have looked to for inspiration.

The international aspect of the WeWork operation is its trump card. Sign up to a WeWork in Beijing and you can use facilities in 20 other countries. The community services, happy hours, and free Thank God It’s Monday breakfasts help to build communities locally and globally.

A lot of money has been put into these places, even in terms of building materials. There are a lot of support staff and an army of cleaners working round the clock so if you want a place where everything just works, this could be a good option. They even have government relations officers: “We have a very large team of lawyers to make sure everything is working okay,” WeWork Asia Managing Director Christian Lee told TechNode.

5. SOHO 3Q

Soho3 auditorium

Coffee: Free

Price: Desks from RMB 750/week, offices from RMB 950/week

Location: 8 locations in Beijing

Good for: Security-conscious, serious workers. The address can be used for registering your business if you pay up front on a longer-term lease.

There are now 8 of these co-working spaces in Beijing alone, with some office complexes housing two branches. The Guanghua Lu branch we visited has a huge amphitheater making up the main atrium and is where events are hosted.

This place is all about security. It took several attempts just to get in the building, but when we found the entrance where reception is (south side of the building, towards the west), we could see why. It’s about serious work and even in the open, shared spaces, people have expensive equipment such as iMacs set up and left overnight. Some even had fish tanks on their desks. Drawer sets and lockers are also available. There’s a gym on site but membership costs extra.

One noticeable difference with other places is the scale and atmosphere. It has the feel of a university library in exam term. Everyone seems to be doing serious work, on a large scale: there are 3,500 workspaces in the Guanghua Lu branch and it was almost full.

Membership is extremely flexible, but not transferrable although you can at least get into the other locations apparently.

6. Prototype at the Jen Hotel

Coffee: Free. Free beer during Thursday happy hours. 20% off all other food and drink throughout the hotel, such as Beer Smith

Price: RMB 85 half day, 150 full day—various other price plans available

Location: Guomao Extension at the World Trade Center

Good for: Night owls, those looking for daily rates, hosting presentations

When the Shangri-la hotel chain designed the Jen sub-brand, they wanted to do something a little different. So instead of putting in the usual dull business center for guests, they created a co-working space that non-guests can also use. They followed the typical co-work space esthetic to create a bright and airy environment, with a couple of differences.

Food. They have a cafe built into the co-working space. You can already get free drinks at a separate drinks stand, but the cafe has way more and a decent range of food so you don’t have to pack up and leave when you need to eat. Another difference is their meeting rooms. These are the most designed space we’ve ever seen and somehow reminiscent of 1970s Bond baddies’ lairs with cream leather and huge screens. Ideal to show off a company presentation.

There’s also the option to book certain tables which have special equipment for certain professions

By going to work in a five-star hotel, some of the other perks rub off. There are staff to deal with any eventuality and, although the cafe closes in the evening, no one actually throws you out so…. you could work into the wee hours.

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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