SINGAPORE: Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and mainboard-listed Frasers Property are joining hands with JustCo to invest US$177 million (S$237 million) into developing a co-working space platform across Asia, the companies said in a joint press release on Wednesday (May 16).
The joint investment will enable JustCo, the co-working arm of homegrown space provider JustGroup, to build on its presence in Southeast Asia and expand into other parts of Asia, including China, Korea, Japan and Australia.
It will also support JustCo’s efforts to ramp up technology solutions and service offerings for its members, the press release said.
GIC Real Estate’s chief investment officer Lee Kok Sun described the co-working movement as one that “embraces the flexibility of the sharing economy and is fast changing the way office space is designed, leased, used and operated”.
He added: "As a long-term value investor, we are attracted by the sector’s growth potential in the long run and believe that the fragmented nature of the sector presents opportunities for consolidation."
Mr Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Group CEO of Frasers Property said: “We view real estate as a service offering that goes beyond brick and mortar. The combination of thoughtful design, curated service offerings and smart-office technology, can transform office buildings into inspiring, collaborative workspaces that enhance our workplace communities.”
Over the years, co-working spaces in Singapore have grown rapidly on the back of factors such as a thriving start-up scene, as well as the willingness of developers and landlords to partner co-working operators amid a softening commercial property market.
Both local and foreign players, like US giant WeWork, have moved quickly to boost their physical presence to provide workspaces for users as varied as freelancers, entrepreneurs and companies looking to contain costs.
Founded in 2015, JustCo currently has 11 locations in Singapore, with two more scheduled to open in July. Beyond Singapore, it has ventured into Indonesia and Thailand, and aims to operate 100 centres in the region by end-2020.
Its founder and CEO Kong Wan Sing said the latest round of investment from GIC and Frasers Property will help the company "enhance and redefine the flexible workspace experience through multi-geographical footprints".