Malaysia has a large number of start-ups, entrepreneurs, independent consultants and SMEs – mainly in the e-commerce and IT sectors – who are searching for the “right” office to rent according to their work style and needs.
Globally, companies are embracing the new trend of working in large open spaces to facilitate innovation, collaboration and communication. This makes the traditional closed offices in aging buildings of Kuala Lumpur less appealing to companies. The digital revolution is enabling people to work from anywhere with an Internet connection, flexibility and experience seem to be the motto.
At a time when the sharing economy is witnessing success worldwide, co-working spaces are massively developing in all the major cities worldwide. And the region of Kuala Lumpur is not left behind. While the concept is already well established in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, there is now a race to set up co-working spaces in Kuala Lumpur.
Most players are located outside Kuala Lumpur City
The current co-working pie is shared by 36 players, of which we have identified 30 which are involved in operating only one co-working space. The remaining six – CEO Suite, Colony, Common Ground, H Space, The Co. and Whitespace – are found in 14 locations in Greater Kuala Lumpur. Regus counts more than 20 co-working spaces within its office spaces in Greater KL. Common Ground seems to be one of the leaders according to the number of spaces, followed by CEO Suite, H Space, The Co., Whitespace and Colony.
When looking into location, co-working spaces are flourishing in popular areas. More than 70 per cent of the co-working spaces are located outside Kuala Lumpur City Centre where opportunities to find places at lower prices still exist, although some are in the City Centre. Bangsar, Midvalley, Mont Kiara and Petaling Jaya are popular spots for this concept. The absolute precondition seems to be a location well connected to public transport and a shopping mall.
A real race to expand its brand first in Kuala Lumpur’s region
In the capital city of Kuala Lumpur that is attracting new entrants, the faster a player is expanding its brand, the more likely it will establish its co-working concept and be able to secure the best locations in the office space market. The other operators will then have to feature new components or an outstanding interior design to differentiate itself from competitors.
For example, Common Ground is anchoring its footprint in the market with three new spaces – Kuala Lumpur’s City Centre (KLCC), Mont Kiara and TTDI. These new spaces will increase Common Ground’s capacity by 1,200 seats and constitute a combined floor area of 76,000 sq. ft. Colony is also establishing itself as a major co-working operator with its marketing efforts generating a buzz among start-ups and SMEs, and by working on three areas: Midvalley, Sunway Pyramid and KLCC.
The future of the workplace is shaping Kuala Lumpur’s office landscape with newly designed offices in preparation of future workplace needs, and will likely attract more firms to look into the co-working market.