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Co-Working Spaces Aren’t Just About The Desks, Says JustCo CEO Kong Wan Sing

The scale of a co-working space is crucial to allow its members to take full advantage of co-working.

Co-Working Spaces Aren’t Just About The Desks, Says JustCo CEO Kong Wan Sing
Kong Wan Sing

Once synonymous with start-ups and freelancers, co-working now attracts corporations too. JustCo is tapping on this potential in its expansion into various cities across Asia. In November, it opened JustCo Tower in Seoul’s Gangnam business district — its largest to date with 140,000 sq ft over 16 storeys. The company’s first centre to pilot innovative solutions and technologies, members here can use JustCo’s mobile app to enjoy 24/7 card-free access and digital navigation, and even place orders at the in-house cafe. In early 2020, it will launch two more spaces in OCBC Centre East, Singapore, and Concordian in downtown Seoul.

Kong Wan Sing, founder and CEO of JustCo, has set his sights on Tokyo too. Over the next two years, he plans to open up to nine centres across the Japanese capital. Why is the 43-year-old in such a hurry? “Scale is crucial for our members to fully harness the effects of co-working,” he explains. “Our strategy, hence, is to secure multiple locations across the Asia Pacific to build an extensive, well-connected network and community.”

An alum of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Kong’s first stab at entrepreneurship was in 1998 when he started a finance firm in Boston. When the business folded, he returned to Malaysia, where he spent six years with the real estate division of his family’s business, Sing Long Group. He was later hired by Mapletree Investments to manage its real estate investments.

With JustCo, which he established in 2011, Kong made sure to work with the right partners. This included GIC and Frasers Property, which he says “have given us an edge in securing spaces in prominent buildings they own or manage. They have driven our rapid expansion in prime locations in business districts in the region.” To accelerate its growth across the Asia Pacific, JustCo entered into a $240 million joint investment venture with the two companies in May 2018.

All 40 co-working spaces by JustCo feature a human-centric element: at least 30 percent of the area is dedicated to common areas such as a cafe, event space, game areas and meeting rooms to facilitate collaboration and networking among members and companies. A number of centres even encourage work-life balance through activities like lunchtime Zumba classes and art-centric workshops.

Office envy, anyone?

This story first appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of A Magazine.