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Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

Office sharing revival in Hong Kong

Office sharing revival in Hong Kong

A co-working space company that is planning to open a new office in Hong Kong is seeing rising interest from tenants as the city rolls back its Covid-19 restrictions.
The Great Room Offices Pte, a Singapore-based flexible office operator, is opening its second location in Hong Kong at CK Asset Holdings Ltd.’s Cheung Kong Center in the fourth quarter. The government’s moves to ease travel curbs into the city have boosted inquiries for the firm’s new office in Central, according to Chief Executive Officer Jaelle Ang.

Hong Kong’s intention to loosen travel restrictions “is really a catalyst for decision makers to decide ‘OK, we are going to start dedicating resources, we are going to have a clearer plan around how we will manage our presence in Hong Kong,’” Ang said in an interview.

Great Room Offices saw inquiries jump by several times in recent weeks as the government said it would scrap hotel quarantine and the company confirmed the new location, Ang added.

Interest came from companies already in Hong Kong as well as clients from Singapore and Bangkok that want to set up in the city, according to Ang. The firm aims for full occupancy for the 21,000-square-foot (1,951-square-meter) space in the first quarter of next year. Mature startups, fund managers and professional service providers are among its target tenants.

Hong Kong’s strict Covid-19 measures have deterred many foreign businesses and prompted an exodus of professionals. The government is now shifting its policies by abandoning quarantine and pre-flight PCR tests to bring back business. It’s also counting on international events including a rugby tournament and a finance summit to reignite Hong Kong’s appeal to the global community.

The pandemic has taken a toll on the city’s office sector. There has been a significant contraction in demand for grade A office space, with vacancies rising to record highs and rents declining by almost 30 percent since mid-2019, according to CBRE Group Inc.

But Ang is optimistic on the future of the city. “I think Hong Kong will always be a very important place for business for those companies with a presence within the APAC or Greater China regions,” Ang said.

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