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Singapore's JustCo explores hotels for co-working spaces

Kong Wan Sing, founder and chief executive of co-working space operator JustCo.

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Singaporean co-working space operator JustCo will open co-working spaces this year in hotels in the city-state, the company's first in Southeast Asia, before expanding to Bangkok in 2019 at hotels owned by liquor tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

Founder and chief executive Kong Wan Sing said the first hotel to get a co-working space in Singapore will be Hotel Jen, a four-star brand owned by Hong Kong-based Shangri-la Hotels.

"We will utilise the hotel's business centre to expand to new locations for our co-working spaces at 3,000-4,000 square metres each," Mr Kong said on Thursday.

The company will also open two more new centres in hotels in Singapore and most likely in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.

Bangkok will be the next destination, with at least a few sites in 2019. The chosen hotels will be under either Singapore-based Frasers Property or Thailand-based TCC Group, two conglomerates owned by Mr Charoen.

In May 2018, Frasers Property became one of the two new major shareholders of JustCo after Frasers and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC agreed on a US$177-million partnership with JustCo to develop a co-working space platform across Asia.

Mr Kong said Frasers and GIC hold more than a 50% combined stake in JustCo. SET-listed developer Sansiri Plc is another Thai shareholder in JustCo, holding a 6.09% stake.

In Thailand, JustCo will open six new centres through the end of 2019 with a total of at least 24,000 sq m. Each site will start from 3,000 sq m at a cost of $1,000-1,500 per sq m.

One of them will be 8,000 sq m on the 24th to 27th floors at Samyan Mitrtown, a mixed-use complex owned by SET-listed Golden Land Property Development Plc, a property arm owned by Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Mr Charoen's youngest son and Frasers Property's group CEO.

Scheduled to open by the fourth quarter next year, 8.5-billion-baht Samyan Mitrtown on Rama IV Road will have a 31-storey office tower with a total lettable area of 48,000 sq m, a six-floor retail space of 36,000 sq m and a 33-storey residential building with 516 leasehold condo units and 104 hotel rooms.

"We aim to open only in Bangkok in central business districts like Rama IV and Sukhumvit roads," Mr Kong said.

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