Malaysia's Largest Co-Working Space to Expand Overseas
Common Ground, the largest co-working space operator in Malaysia, is debuting into the Philippine property market through a joint venture with private investment firm MVP Global Infrastructure Group (MVP Global) with a goal to build 15 communal and flexible office hubs here in two to three years.
MVP Global, a private investment firm that covers Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, announced the signing of the new joint venture agreement with Common Ground on Friday. The partnership will initially focus on Metro Manila, which accounts for over a third of the Philippines’ economic output.
“Common Ground’s entry into the Philippines is timely as we see pent-up demand for co-working space offerings which provide a superior value proposition to tradition office space rentals.
"With Common Ground’s entry into the Philippines, we also provide our tenants access to a regional eco-system,” said Enrique Gonzalez, the Filipino partner at MVP Global.
“We are equally excited with our partnership with the founders of Common Ground who share our enthusiasm and successful track record across many Internet and tech-related businesses. We believe the success of entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia relies on their ability to forge partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs in other markets. The regionalization of these relationships is essential to scaling across Southeast Asia,” Gonzales said.
Co-working space is deemed suitable for start-up companies which need to operate under an asset-light business model, which can not predict their pace of growth and do not want to make long-term leasing commitments. Apart from millennial entrepreneurs and freelancers, big global companies are increasingly tapping co-working spaces for certain business units in need of flexible arrangements, typically riding on “passport” access to different sites operated by the same provider.
Common Ground co-founder Juhn Teo added: “We believe the shifting patterns of the millennial workforce, technology and thriving multinational sector support this rapidly growing demand.”
Teo cited a recent Colliers Flexible Office Report which projected that flexible office space for Southeast Asia would grow from 2 percent of current commercial real estate inventory to 30 percent by 2030.
“So, I am confident that there is sufficient demand and this is indicated by the fast take-up rate at our first venue in the Philippines,” Teo said.
Teo described the community attracted by Common Ground as “very diverse and an eclectic mix of industries and professions.”
“We pride ourselves on catering to a broad spectrum of industries and backgrounds. The benefits of this diversity are that members can provide different services, do business, offer advice to each other and socialize with people from different knowledge bases,” he said.
Common Ground co-founder Erman Akinci said the group was pleasantly surprised by the tremendous success of its first co-working space and even more astounded by the success of succeeding co-working the group had built in Malaysia.
“It’s a validation that we accurately tapped the pulse of our target market and it’s always nice to be proven right. This is something we would like to replicate in the Philippines,” Akinci said.
The partnership is Common Group’s expansion of its initial portfolio of four working spaces in Malaysia, where top corporations such as BCG, Uber, United Nations and AWS are among its tenants.
For its part, MVP Global represents a group of market-leading businesses across South East Asia with over $1 billion in the capital. Its interests are in the areas of infrastructure investment and cross-border activities. In 2016, it signed a memorandum of agreement with China Railway Engineering Corp. (CREC) to bid for $2.5 billion worth of infrastructure investments, whether via public-private partnership bids or unsolicited bids.