IE Singapore, CapitaLand and leading Chinese co-working space operator UrWork in sharing economy partnership to help Singapore enter China
Singapore, 2 December 2016 – International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, CapitaLand and UrWork today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate Singapore companies’ entry into China amid the growing trend of the sharing economy. This first-of-its kind tripartite partnership among a Singapore government agency, Asia’s leading real estate company headquartered and listed in Singapore and China’s leading co-working space operator, will provide a conducive working environment, leads and business advisory services, smoothening the market entry process for SMEs.
The partnership will also see CapitaLand launch co-working space in its malls for the first time, and create new investment opportunities for CapitaLand’s venture capital arm, C31 Ventures, as part of the real estate giant’s push to leverage digital innovation to build the real estate of the future. For UrWork, it marks a step forward for its internationalisation plans and strengthens its growing network of members that comprises potential unicorns.
The MOU was signed by Mr Yew Sung Pei, Assistant Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IE Singapore, Mr Lucas Loh, CEO of CapitaLand China and Mr Brian Liu Yan, CFO of UrWork, witnessed by Mr Lee Ark Boon, CEO of IE Singapore, Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited and Mr Mao Daqing, Founder of UrWork.
Singapore SMEs will benefit from chain effects of these co-working spaces The tripartite MOU covers the following key areas:
CapitaLand will work with UrWork to provide co-working spaces in CapitaLand’s properties in China and Singapore. As the agency partnering Singapore companies to go global, IE Singapore will identify and link potential Singapore SMEs to these co-working spaces in China.
Benefits to SMEs
The co-working spaces provide a conducive business environment for Singapore SMEs, allowing them to interact with like-minded business partners. They will also get preferential membership fees, allowing them to access high-quality office facilities at low cost.
Companies can validate their innovations across CapitaLand’s real estate portfolio (integrated developments, shopping malls, serviced residences, offices and homes), helping them to build track record and scale up in China.
To further facilitate SMEs’ entry to the market, IE Singapore will recommend business advisory services of Singapore professional services players at these co-working spaces. This includes business incorporation, financing, legal and tax. Some companies on board include Boardroom, Rajah and Tann and UOB, who will be able to promote their services to UrWork’s Chinese and Singapore companies.
UrWork will include CapitaLand’s venture capital arm, C31 Ventures, in its list of preferred venture capital partners. Singapore companies and/or UrWork’s members with innovative concepts can market themselves to C31 to be considered for financing by the venture.
IE Singapore and UrWork will jointly attract and groom a group of talents to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and internationalisation through regular seminars, thematic exchanges, networking sessions and internship opportunities
Mr Lee Ark Boon said, “This tripartite partnership strengthens IE Singapore’s networks, allowing us to provide ready and better support to Singapore companies to accelerate their market expansion into China. It will also catalyse exchanges between Singapore. SMEs and Chinese enterprises, enabling our enterprises to cross-learn and co-create ideas to scale up in China.”
Mr Lim Ming Yan said, “CapitaLand aims to provide real estate of the future and working closely with sharing economy players and technology startups is an important pillar of this strategic thrust. In June, we launched our first co-working space in Capital Tower in Singapore, as we pilot our concept for the office of the future, where people work in hubs of collaboration, community and creativity. We will also be providing co- working spaces in Ascott’s newly-launched Lyf residences. We look forward to this new partnership with IE Singapore and UrWork as we will be bringing co-working spaces into our malls for the first time. The retail environment provides a ‘living lab’ for some of the latest innovations undertaken by the startups. At the same time, it enables us to observe first-hand the latest innovations in action as we continue to enhance our integrated offline-and-online (O&O) offerings. Potentially we could also invest in some of the startups through CapitaLand’s venture capital arm, C31 Ventures.”
Mr Mao Daqing said, “Singapore offers a favorable business environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, and China presents a massive market for thriving innovative activities. Through this tripartite MOU, Singapore startups will gain access to China’s market, while Chinese startups will have an international platform to exhibit and grow their businesses. It is of great significance to us at UrWork to be able to help deepen the bilateral economic and trade cooperation between China and Singapore, and to create opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in both countries.
Singapore SMEs can tap IE Singapore’s Market Readiness Assistance Grant (MRA)1 for assistance on overseas market set up activities. As UrWork members, they can leverage UrWork’s vast networks and resources in over 10 cities across China, including Tier 1 cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. When ready to move to graded office buildings, they can tap CapitaLand’s network of 19 premium office developments in 11 high-growth Chinese cities, including its Raffles City in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
First fruits of the tripartite partnership
The partnership has already borne its first fruits – UrWork will open a co-working space in two of 65 CapitaLand malls in China in the next six months, as the trend of locating co-working space in retail malls takes off globally. An entrepreneurship mentoring