Co-working arrangements are quickly becoming popular across the world, but few urban areas have embraced co-working as eagerly as Kuala Lumpur, which is fast becoming recognised as one of the global hubs of the practice.
Kuala Lumpur recently became Asia’s fastest-growing city for co-working, with the amazingly affordable rent and competitive marketplace offered by the city proving too tantalizing for most businesses to pass upon.
Here’s why Kuala Lumpur is Asia’s fastest-growing city for co-working, and why we can expect shared offices spaces to remain commonplace there well into the future.
New construction is bountiful
One of the primary reasons that Kuala Lumpur has proven to be one of the finest co-working locations in the world is that the city is filled with new construction projects.
New offices are bountiful wherever you look, with local and foreign construction firms alike raking in huge sums of money by cashing in on ever-growing demand for new business locations and apartments.
As a direct result of Kuala Lumpur’s thriving construction sector, rent prices have been slowly but surely getting lower across the city.
As a matter of fact, one report indicates that rent recently fell by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter precisely because of the supply of new construction projects.
Office space in Kuala Lumpur is incredibly affordable when compared with some other business hubs in Asia, such as neighbouring Singapore.
Given that most startups and more than a few established companies are always looking to cut down on the costs of doing business, having competitive rent prices as well as a solid infrastructure ensures Kuala Lumpur will always be a popular choice for international businesses and investors.
It’s not just cheap rent that makes it an attractive spot for co-working providers, either, but also the stability of the city. KL is the backbone of the country and is the economic and commercial centre reinforces it as the business hub of Malaysia.
Many co-working providers would opt for stability over a setting up in a cheaper SE Asian City, and Kuala Lumpur has done an excellent job to ensure that its rent and occupancy levels remain relatively stable.
In recent years an oversupply of office buildings in the Klang Valley had led to uncertainty in the real estate sector.
This created the need to diversify the market and increase the prevalence of shared space throughout the City to offer more affordable and flexible office solutions to smaller businesses and new start-ups. Well-equipped co-working spaces in Kuala Lumpur were available for relatively cheap rates, creating more buoyancy in the market when it was needed most.
It’s also becoming clearer that co-working arrangements don’t have to sacrifice comfort or prestige in exchange for lower rent prices.
Popular listicles featuring some of the hottest co-working arrangements in Kuala Lumpur have been going viral recently, for instance, demonstrating that the city remains cutting edge despite its relative affordability.
This ensures that foreigners looking for a new office destination are being exposed to positive press before finalizing their decision to settle down in Kuala Lumpur, and locals themselves are also given plenty of encouragement to stay where their roots are rather than soliciting office space elsewhere.
Kuala Lumpur is embracing collaboration
Another surefire reason that Kuala Lumpur is becoming such a thriving hub of co-working is that it’s embracing collaboration, a fundamental feature of the co-working economy that’s only going to become more important as time goes on.
Co-working is about more than saving money; countless businesses decide to share their office with other companies or independent workers not because it’s cheaper, but rather because doing so permits them to house their workers in creative environments populated by a diverse myriad of professionals from all walks of life.
As the innovative and collaborative payoff from co-working arrangements becomes more understood, we can expect more companies in and around Kuala Lumpur to hop on the bandwagon and embrace a shared office.
It should also go without saying that Kuala Lumpur is one of the more technologically advanced cities in its region, ensuring that co-working providers, usually a tech-savvy bunch, cluster up there instead of elsewhere.
Many co-working providers attract tenants by offering high-quality digital services like high-speed internet for office users, so remaining a thriving hub of tech investment will be important if Kuala Lumpur wants to continue exploiting the growing trend of co-working.
Finally, as a natural melting pot, the city is a perfect fit for the culture of co-working agreements, which are usually open and defined by sharing rather than reclusively keeping to yourself.
Co-working arrangements are effectively the opposite of an office cubicle – rather than pushing workers into narrow silos of isolation, they ensure everyone in the office is familiar and comfortable with one another.
It’s only natural, then, that such arrangements should become popular in a city like Kuala Lumpur, which is familiar with mixing and melting diverse groups of people into one cohesive body.
Co-working is becoming incredibly popular around the world, yet Kuala Lumpur consistently stands out as a globally-recognised leader of co-working across Asia.
The city can derive substantial economic benefits from its reputation if it continues to prove attractive to co-working providers.
We can expect more companies based in Kuala Lumpur to embrace co-working sooner rather than later.
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Image Credit: Sadie Teper