IWG’s ambitious growth plans

By Bong Xin Ying / EdgeProp Singapore | October 18, 2019 10:00 AM SGT
IWG - As one of IWG’s fastest-growing brands, Spaces opened 120 outlets globally last year (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ EdgeProp Singapore) - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
As one of IWG’s fastest-growing brands, Spaces opened 120 outlets globally last year (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ EdgeProp Singapore)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - London-listed International Workplace Group (IWG), a global office-space provider, has opened at One Raffles Place, its sixth Spaces location in Singapore. The launch at One Raffles Place on Oct 10 followed Spaces’ openings earlier this year at TripleOne Somerset, Paya Lebar Quarter, and Clarke Quay. This was preceded by the opening of two other Spaces locations, at City Hall and Robinson Road.
Spaces is one of the operating brands in IWG’s portfolio, which also comprises Regus, Signature by Regus, HQ, and No18.
“Spaces chose to locate at One Raffles Place as it provides our members with a perfectly situated space in the core downtown area of Singapore, with access to great transport links and facilities at the mall that enable users to create their own work-life balance,” says Darren Rogers, country sales director, IWG.
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IWG - Common sitting area at Spaces One Raffles Place (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore) - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Common sitting area at Spaces One Raffles Place (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The six-storey One Raffles Place is situated in the heart of Singapore’s CBD. The mall sits atop the Raffles Place MRT Station, and has undergone asset enhancement works since mid-2018. Spaces One Raffles Place will occupy four levels, taking up more than 33,723 sq ft of space, including three meeting rooms, 18 dedicated desks, 539 workstations, and five parking spots.
Businesses can hold corporate events in a mall setting at Spaces One Raffles Place, which has direct access to Raffles Place Park. There is also a selection of F&B outlets on the first level of the mall, like Haakon, a Scandinavian superfoods and juice cafe, and Kipos, which serves up a variety of salads and grain bowls.
With its flagship space in a strategic and convenient location, Spaces One Raffles Place commands the highest membership fees among the six Spaces locations. A monthly co-working membership at Spaces One Raffles Place costs $477, while a dedicated desk and office space starts from $952 and $1,092 a month, respectively. In comparison, monthly co-working membership fees start from $452 in Spaces Robinson and City Hall; $428 in Clarke Quay and Paya Lebar Quarter; and $404 in TripleOne Somerset.
IWG - Spaces One Raffles Place is IWG’s sixth Spaces location in Singapore (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore) - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Spaces One Raffles Place is IWG’s sixth Spaces location in Singapore (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
To be sure, Spaces One Raffles Place is already drawing a crowd. “Since its opening, we are seeing an increasing demand for this location,” says Rogers.
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At present, IWG has been having conversations with companies in the retail and banking sector, which “would find value” in the flexibility that Spaces One Raffles Place offers, and set their headquarters in Spaces One Raffles Place, says Samit Chopra, executive vice president, enterprise & sales, IWG. “Hopefully soon we can announce a few of these companies which are going to come in,” he adds.
Constantly looking at ways to offer extra benefits to members, IWG is also currently in talks with a chiropractor, and the owners of beauty shops and cafes located at the One Raffles Place mall, for possible collaborations..

Growth trajectory

According to Chopra, the flexible space market has been growing globally over the last few years at around 15% to 16% annually. In Asia, he anticipates that the overall flexible space market will double in the next three to five years. He also notes that in Singapore itself, almost 45% to 50% of the office space was absorbed by flexible space providers last year.
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“There are forecasts that 30% of all commercial real estate, which is occupied by [large] corporate clients, will be flexible by 2030,” he says. While the remaining 70% will still be occupied by the traditional buildings, Chopra sees this as a great opportunity for expansion.
“To give you a sense of the growth trajectory, right now, Fortune 1000 companies utilise flexible space for less than 2% of their corporate needs. Now, if that 2% has to go to 20% or 30% over the next 10 years, that’s a hockey stick growth curve we would experience,” he adds.
IWG - Businesses can hold corporate events in a mall setting at Spaces One Raffles Place  (Credit: IWG) - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Businesses can hold corporate events in a mall setting at Spaces One Raffles Place
(Credit: IWG)
That said, Chopra concedes that it is a very competitive market. He estimates that there are around 35,000 flexible working spaces taking up approximately 500 million sq ft of office space globally.
Despite strong growth, he highlights that while MNCs and large enterprise clients are looking for consistent office space solutions that span multiple cities and countries, IWG is among only a handful of operators that fulfil this requirement. It is currently present in almost 3,300 locations across more than 110 countries.
“In certain parts of the market we are competing with everyone; in other parts of the market, we have a unique advantage or a pretty high degree of competitive advantage, which of course we want to leverage,” he observes.
IWG - Chopra: Almost 45% to 50% of the office space in Singapore was absorbed by flexible space providers last year (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore) - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Chopra: Almost 45% to 50% of the office space in Singapore was absorbed by flexible space providers last year (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

New locations

According to Rogers, IWG plans to grow all its brands, and is opening new locations across the globe weekly.
“We’re very aggressive and very quick to … proactively plan our expansion, especially in big markets like Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai,” adds Chopra.
As one of IWG’s fastest-growing brands, Spaces opened 120 outlets globally last year, and Chopra notes that Singapore is “one of the cities where we have pretty rapid expansion”. He says, “It is already well-favoured by large enterprise clients as well as small and medium enterprises.
In 1Q2020, Spaces will see the opening of its seventh space in Singapore. Rogers reveals that it is in a 20,000 sq ft building with a roof garden located in Joo Chiat.
“We feel that this area is a great community-based location that will suit the Spaces brand,” Rogers explains. He adds that the new location provides a flexible working solution for individuals and companies based in the eastern part of Singapore, which “currently does not have such a provision”.
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