Specifications and standards on co-working spaces released

Service specifications and standards on China's booming co-working spaces released on Friday during the 2017 National Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week.

A set of trail service specifications, along with a set of standards, on co-working space service, was released on Friday to better regulate the booming industry and better fuel China’s rising innovation and entrepreneurship.

The two documents were released in Changyang Campus, the main venue of 2017 National Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week, by Torch High Technology Industry Development Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Over the past three years, co-working spaces, also known as mass maker spaces, have played an important role in supporting the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship, but there are also many places to be improved, said Zhang Zhihong, director with the center.

The newly released specifications for the first time clarify who the co-working spaces shall serve – startup teams, companies and makers featuring innovation; and the co-working spaces’ main services include training courses on entrepreneurship, financing service and connecting resources.

China currently has 4,298 co-working spaces. They along with more than 3,600 incubators and accelerators nationwide have formed a service chain for  startups to grow an idea into commercialization. In 2016, the service chain served nearly 400,000 startups, which provided more than two million jobs.

 “Many people consider co-working spaces are mesne landlords, but we are a type of sharing economy to serve emerging startups,” said Wan Lijiang, CEO of co-working space operator Fountown.

He admitted that despite the quick development of the industry, there are also “some foul players who claimed to be co-working spaces, but merely to use the name to get governmental subsidy or preferential policies without making real contribution for the startups.”

Wan considered the newly released standards and specifications will help to curb such situations and guide the development of the industry.

In 2016, the country’s co-working spaces helped more than 15,000 startups to attract investment which worth about 53.96 billion yuan, including 7.88 billion yuan invested by the co-working spaces themselves, according to the center. Besides, the co-working spaces also helped 22,000 firms still under incubation receiving 2.7 billion yuan of governmental subsidy.

A woman works in a local co-working space on Yanping Road, Jing'an District.

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