Space age in the office world comes to Shanghai

The city aims to make local co-working spaces more professional by launching a three-year project.

A total of 32 local co-working spaces were named in a three-year model project that aims to make such spaces more professional and international, and stronger at brand-building.

Co-working spaces are spaces shared by multiple small companies, startups or even individuals like freelancers. Instead of renting a whole office, people can simply rent desks from co-working spaces' operators on a monthly basis. Some operators also offer training courses and resources.

The city’s science and technology commission said on Tuesday that the 32 chosen, selected from 139 applicants, will each receive 900,000 yuan (US$137,000) of subsidy annually through the three-year project.

Assessments will be carried out from the second year, and they will lose the subsidy if they fail the test.

The commission's initiative is part of the city’s 2017 National Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week.

According to the authority, Shanghai has more than 500 co-working spaces, which support more than 16,000 small and medium-sized tech companies. 

The authority wants to use the project to encourage more scientific institutes, universities or state-owned companies, like Baowu Group, to set up their own co-working spaces or incubators and open more internal resources to startup teams.

The aim is to build up a series of local co-working spaces with strong branding and set up an international entrepreneurial network by encouraging more Chinese startup teams to go global or by attracting foreign startup teams to be based in Shanghai.

“There are many expatriates in Shanghai who want to kick off their own startups here,” said Wang Bo, business development manager with XNode, one of the 32 listed co-working spaces.

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