Meet Booqed, Hong Kong's Airbnb for office and commercial spaces

December 18, 2017 13:50
David Wong (left) and Charles Ng (right), co-founders of Booqed, a Hong Kong startup which aims to link workers with temporary office spaces and event venues. Photos: HKEJ, Booqed

Booqed, a Hong Kong-based startup launched in September last year, is looking to change how organizations utilize spaces and link workers with temporary office spaces and event venues.

Established by a group of young entrepreneurs, Booqed is a mobile-based, on-demand marketplace for boutique spaces for work-related activities. The firm's mobile app now has over 1,500 active users, David Wong, co-founder and chief executive, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

The business model emerged when the co-founders, who needed a temporary space to conduct a video conference, spent three days and were unable to find any available spots. They decided then to set up a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace with the aim to "redefine and re-imagine" the use of space.

In Hong Kong, where space is scarce and real estate costs are high, "what is needed is to utilize the space flexibly," says Wong.

In addition to offices or co-working spaces, the company also lists several restaurants, music studios and even yoga studios which want to rent out space for purposes such as hosting events or to serve as temporary co-workspaces.

Local businesses welcome the chance to earn by renting out under-utilized space to others, according to Wong.

Booqed's business clients include companies involved in sectors such as tech, insurance and retail, and coming from various regions.

Among the clients is, Stripe, a US payments 'unicorn' (a start-up valued at more than US$1 billion), which used Booqed to find temporary working space in Hong Kong as the American firm undertook some initiatives to work closely with Chinese mobile payments giants Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Booqed also helped find an office space for a Shenzhen-based startup, which has just received new funding, expanded its team to 30 and looked for a 6-month short-term rental.

In another instance, Wong spoke about a corporate marketing team which uses Booqed to rent a music studio for brainstorming sessions among the executives.

Customer needs are changing at a fast pace. There was a customer who searched for available spots for a pop-up store and also asked Booqed if it could refer tech talents.

In yet another case, the online platform received a request from a mainland China-based business for provision of accommodation package in addition to the office space.

"The way people are working is changing, with the rise of the new economy, so our service needs to be flexible," said Wong. "Other than linking our clients with the suitable spots, we also have to specifically match their additional needs. That's how we build our brand and retain our clients."

Customers can now book spaces in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shenzhen on Booqed's mobile platform. The startup hopes to expand its offerings to include other key cities in Asia, such as Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Bali, in the near future.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 18

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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