Date
17 August 2018
Founded in April 2015, UrWork provides short-term leasing services and customized office spaces in over 30 cities. The company has changed the brand of its service to Ucommune. Photo: UrWork/Reuters
Founded in April 2015, UrWork provides short-term leasing services and customized office spaces in over 30 cities. The company has changed the brand of its service to Ucommune. Photo: UrWork/Reuters

UrWork rebrands shared-office service after trademark lawsuit

UrWork, China’s largest co-working space provider, has changed the brand of its service to Ucommune, two months after its US counterpart WeWork filed a complaint over trademark infringement.

As Bloomberg reports, UrWork (Beijing) Venture Investment Co. will still keep its formal name but its locations and shared-office service will be rebranded. And it will retain its Chinese name, You Ke Gong Chang.

It also rolled out five new product lines, Matrix for startup giants, Elite for medium- and large-sized corporations, Clash for fast-growing companies, Box for SMEs, and Heritage, which provides co-working space in heritage buildings.

The company said in the statement: “We don’t want to just provide office space, we want to give customers more possibilities. Connecting to the world from a desk, building from a massive membership network – that’s what we mean by ‘commune’.”

It is also expanding into new lines of business such as legal and fund-raising services for the startups it hosts, in exchange for money or shares, the company’s founder and chief executive Mao Da-qing has told Bloomberg.

WeWork, the US-based co-working space behemoth, has filed complaints in London, New York and Hong Kong since September, accusing its Chinese rival of mimicking its name and brand.

But in December, the two companies settled their trademark dispute, without disclosing terms.

Competition in the co-working space industry is heating up as regional giants take a global focus. WeWork, valued at US$20 billion in its latest funding round, is expanding in Asia markets such as China and Japan, while its Chinese rival has announced plans to build global hubs in New York, Los Angeles and London.

UrWork said it has recently closed a Series C funding round of US$45 million led by Qianhai Wutong Mergers and Acquisitions Funds, a private equity fund owned by regional equity exchange Qianhai Equity Exchange.

CK Home–Key Investment Group and venture capital firm Context Lab also participated in the round, which values the company at US$1.3 billion.

Mao said in the statement that the new funding will be used to implement its global expansion plans, as well as for technology and service upgrading. He said the company will penetrate more second-tier cities in the country.

Founded in April 2015, UrWorkprovides short-term leasing services and customized office spaces in over 30 cities, serving over 90,000 individual members.

According to Crunchbase, the company has raised US$389 million in at least six rounds since its establishment.

Ucommune’s backers also include Sequoia Capital China, Zhen Fund, Noah Wealth Management, Sinovation Ventures, and Tianhong Asset Management Co., a fund backed by financial services giant Ant Financial.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 28

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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BN/CG

Hong Kong Economic Journal

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