WeWork Fortifies 2018 Growth By Launching The Creator Awards To Energize Greater China’s Innovation Ecosystem

  • Building on achievements and robust business momentum in Greater China, 2017 was also the biggest year in WeWork’s 7-year history
  • By the end of 2018, WeWork will be accelerating its development to several other locations in Hong Kong including LKF Tower.  Meanwhile, WeWork will be expanding its presence to 8 more new cities in China, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xia Men, Cheng Du, Nan Jing, Xi’An and Wuhan
  • Meeting increasing demand of customized spaces with enterprise solutions like Powered by We
  • A major global initiative, the WeWork Creator Awards is now open for applications in Greater China to recognize and reward local creators
  • Four categories of award amounting to over USD 1 million (HKD 7.8 million) for regional winners
  • The Creator Awards will culminate in a Regional Semi-Final Event in Shanghai on April 12, 2018 for the regional championship

Hong Kong (February 06, 2018) —WeWork—the platform for creators that provides the space, community and services to help people make a life, not just a living announced today that its global initiative Creator Awards, is now officially launched in Greater China and open for applications from both WeWork members and public.

Marking its debut in Asia, the WeWork Creator Awards is a unique and major global initiative championing the recognition of a new wave of creators that are breaking the mold of conventional norms. Initiated last year, the Creator Awards sets itself apart by recognizing and rewarding creators across all industries and all stages of growth. Welcoming new ventures, startups to non-profits of the world, anyone who brings a new idea into the world is a creator.

Individuals or organizations interested can apply online at creatorawards.wework.com and applications will be closed on March 13, 2018. Along with the Regional Semi-Final event for the Greater China market to be held on April 12, 2018 at the Shanghai West Bund Art Center, creators will be taking center stage in hopes of being crowned a winner across four categories.

Redefining a New Horizon of Creators Through The Creator Awards

With the Regional Semi-Final event held in eight cities including Washington D.C., Detroit, Austin, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv and New York, and Mexico City, more than 7,000 applications were attracted from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East (Tel Aviv) and Latin America in 2017 and 2018. In addition to supporting the community that WeWork serves, more than 20,000 people participated in the Creator Awards Regional

Semi-Final events and Global Finals including the master classes, job fairs and pop-up markets. Moreover, the final 167 winners from 2017 and 2018 were awarded with a total funding of USD15.6 million (about HKD 121 million; including funding awarded at the Global Finals last month) and resulted in hundreds of jobs being created.

“With 2018 a year of tremendous growth and expansion for us, we are excited to take this a step further by launching the Creator Awards in Greater China. WeWork China will continue to drive a new era of expansion and innovation by revolutionizing work empowered by our global platform,” said Christian Lee, Managing Director of WeWork Asia. “Staying grounded to our core of creating your life’s work, we look forward to the Creator Awards unleashing even greater creativity and ideas that will transform the world. Along with our commitment to the Greater China region, WeWork will continue shaping the growth of more creators as we build on our growth trajectory.”

Along with WeWork unifying the entire ecosystem into one experience in 2018, the WeWork Creator Awards took off in Mexico City on 01 Feb, and will be landing in Shanghai, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, London, Berlin, Nashville, and Jerusalem before concluding in New York City for the Creator Awards Global Finals in early 2019.

Four Award Categories Amounting to over USD 1 million (HKD 7.8 million) For Regional Winners

This year, WeWork has set up four different categories of awards for applicants from different industries and circles:

New Venture Award
USD130K – USD360K per award (HKD1 million – HKD2.8 million per award)
You’re a startup, entrepreneur, or established enterprise with a plan to take things further. Select applicants from this category will pitch their idea to a panel of judges; finalists will pitch live on stage at the Regional Semi-Final event for the chance to take home funding.

Performing Arts Award
USD18K – USD72K per award (HKD140K – HKD562K per award)
You’re a musical group, dance troupe, slam poet, aerial silk artist, or other live performer, and you’re interested in sharing your art with our audience. Finalists from this category will secure a paid gig at the Regional Semi-Final event.

Non-profit Award
USD130K – USD360K per award (HKD1 million – HKD2.8 million per award)
You’re a registered charity or non-profit organization looking to expand your efforts. Select applicants from this category will pitch their idea to a panel of judges; finalists will pitch live on stage at their regional event for the chance to take home funding.

Community Giver Award
USD36K – USD130K per award (HKD281K – HKD1 million per award)
You’re an individual or collective who takes initiative—starting a community garden, helping the elderly, making public art, or dedicating yourself to another local endeavor with impact. Finalists from this category will compete for funding to honor their contributions.

WeWork Creator Awards Detroit Finalist Accelerating Her Startup in Greater China

With the Creator Awards 2017 a launchpad for turning dreams into reality, Ms. Wen Yao, a finalist from the Detroit leg of the Creator Awards, is now embarking into the Chinese market and is currently based in WeWork Yunnan Lu, Shanghai. “Being a proud finalist, the Creator Awards is an inspirational platform that changes lives for creators to continue having the capacity and resources to do what they love,” said Ms. Wen Yao, Co-Founder of POWWFUL, a female sportswear brand.

“Although we did not clinch the finals, the networking opportunities gained us with connections with like-minded members that are also on their mission to empower the world with a powerful voice. By leveraging on WeWork’s powerful global network, we now have great confidence in making inroads to the Greater China market and scaling our business to greater heights.”

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Fostering Collaboration with Local Stakeholders

WeWork’s initiative for creation and innovation has also been echoed and aligned with many local stakeholders, including InvestHK, Cyberport, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, Techstars, along with WHub.

Invest Hong Kong is the department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government tasked to attract foreign direct investment and support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It launched the StartmeupHK initiative in 2013 to promote Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem and connect entrepreneurs in local and overseas startup communities. “We support WeWork’s vision in advancing entrepreneurial innovation in the Greater China community of creators, and we strongly encourage founders and entrepreneurs to use Hong Kong as their base to scale their business globally from this city,” said Charles Ng, Associate Director-General, InvestHK.

Cyberport is a leading innovative digital community with over 1,000 technology companies and start-ups.  With the vision to become a main force in developing the digital tech industry as a key economic driver of Hong Kong, Cyberport is committed to nurturing youth, start-ups and entrepreneurs to grow in the digital industry by connecting them to strategic partners and investors, driving collaboration with local and international business partners to create new markets and opportunities, and accelerating digital technology adoption amongst corporations and SMEs. “Committed to supporting start-ups in springboarding to success, the Creator Awards is timely in nurturing further developments of the start-up ecosystem in the Greater China region,” said Dr. Lee George Lam, Chairman, Cyberport. “With Cyberport being a leading driver of the regional digital tech innovator arena, we believe that the collaboration with WeWork will recognise the outstanding innovators and contribute to the ongoing development of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Comprising Science Park, InnoCentre and Industrial Estates, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is a statutory body dedicated to building a vibrant innovation and technology ecosystem to connect stakeholders, nurture technology talents, facilitate collaboration, and catalyse innovations to deliver social and economic benefits to Hong Kong and the region. “With the diversity of creators in the creator ecosystem, it is extremely encouraging to see the Creator Awards as an emerging platform that is giving deserved recognition to different types of creators,” Wilson Chan, Manager of Incubation Promotion, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks. “Together with WeWork, we look forward to making greater strides in boosting innovation in the Greater China region.”

Techstars is a global network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars Startup Programs are action-oriented programs in 150+ countries around the world that power every step of the entrepreneurial journey. “Aligned with the Creator Awards, such a platform will set the bar for integrating creators that are breaking boundaries and norms. Creativity is the most crucial element for entrepreneurs. This will give them the tools to make a positive impact, and help their creative ideas disrupt an entire industry,” said Felix Wong, Community Manager of Greater China at Techstars. “With the region growing into a global center for innovation, we are excited to continue building up the local ecosystem for a brighter future.”

WHub is Hong Kong’s online startup community with more than 1,900 startups making meaningful connections to develop their business. “With more forward-thinking companies leaning towards building positive impacts, it is even more essential to recognize these creators in today’s world,” said Karena Belin, Co-Founder, WHub. “Coupled with WeWork leading the way in supporting and empowering such creators, we look forward to creating a lasting legacy for the local community through this partnership.”

Other partners in Mainland China include NIOChinacceleratorNYU ShanghaiInnoway, and Tsinghua SEM X-elerator.

Amplifying WeWork’s footprints in the Greater China region

WeWork first entered Greater China in 2016 and opened its first location in Asia – WeWork Yanping Lu on July 1 in Shanghai. Along with its swift expansions, WeWork made its Hong Kong debut by opening WeWork Tower 535 on September 1, 2016. Thereafter in November 2016, WeWork also opened its China flagship WeWork Weihai Lu in Shanghai and WeWork Wanchai in Hong Kong.

In July 2017, SoftBank Group Capital (“SoftBank”) and Hony Capital, a leading private equity firm in China, announced a new USD500 million investment dedicated solely to fueling WeWork’s growth and expanding its operations throughout China. The investment vehicle, led by Hony Capital and a subsidiary of SoftBank, created an entity that operates under the name WeWork China where WeWork is responsible for the management and operations of WeWork China, while SoftBank and Hony Capital each own a minority stake. With the support of local teams and its partners, WeWork will continue looking for new space in cities with existing mature businesses, while also exploring new regions with potential for innovation and growth.

WeWork currently has 10 operating locations in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. In addition to WeWork Tower 535 and WeWork Wanchai in Hong Kong, WeWork will be accelerating its development to several other locations in Hong Kong such as LKF Tower by the end of 2018.

In 2017, WeWork opened more locations in Beijing – WeWork Guanghua Lu, WeWork Ciyunsi, WeWork Wangjing – and Shanghai – WeWork Yan’an Dong Lu, WeWork Yunnan Lu and WeWork Xujiahui.

In early 2018, WeWork will be opening more locations namely WeWork Sanlitun in Beijing and WeWork Guojin, WeWork Nanjing West Road, WeWork Huaihai Zhong Lu, WeWork Xintiandi in Shanghai.

By gearing up for strengthened growth in 2018, WeWork will be expanding its presence to 8 more new cities including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xia Men, Cheng Du, Nan Jing, Xi’An and Wuhan in 2018.

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Meeting Increasing Demand of Customized Spaces with Enterprise Solutions

In October 2017, WeWork formally launched its Enterprise Solution in Greater China, which provides companies of 1,000+ employees with workspace solutions and community settings that enable them to innovate, collaborate and succeed.

From March to August 2017, more than one fourth of WeWork’s new members represent enterprise companies with over 1,000 employees and WeWork enterprise membership makes up 25% of total sales in Greater China.

Key enterprise members include Xiaopeng Automotive, Damai.cn (fully acquired by Alibaba) and Zhaopin.com in Beijing; HSBC and Twilio in Hong Kong; lululemon and O+O Online Technology in Shanghai.

Benefitting from WeWork’s world leading technologies that build healthier connections between members and spaces, WeWork is also using a new operating system called “Powered by We” which helps companies find, build and operate their own space while providing services that enhance employee experience.

Powered by We is the next iteration of WeWork’s product, where it leverages on the integrated expertise of WeWork from in-house research, development, design and construction and community teams to help companies find, build and operate their own space, while providing services that enhance employee experience. Companies can tap into WeWork’s proprietary software and hardware infrastructure to better manage, design and operate their own real estate portfolio.

More importantly, Powered by We services easily brings all signature elements of WeWork such as member benefits and services, a globally-connected vibrant community, innovative spaces, industry-leading technologies, enriched cultural experiences, shared amenities and a humanized way of life and work to any enterprises and its employees anytime and anywhere. 

About WeWork

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WeWork is a platform for creators, providing more than 200,000 members around the world with space, community, and services through both physical and virtual offerings. Its mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. WeWork currently has 212 physical locations in 66 cities and 20 countries around the world.

Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York, the company now employs more than 4,400 globally. WeWork seeks ‘creators’ from all industries and companies big and small to become members, with a suite of WeWork-specific membership benefits in each country and a local staff in each city.

 More than 20,000 companies and more than 200,000 members are now based at a WeWork, with member companies ranging from start-ups to household names including Dell, KPMG, GE, Microsoft, and Samsung. More than 70% of WeWork’s members collaborate with each other and its international locations serve as convenient bases for business travel, enabling a great degree of work flexibility for both multinationals and small-to-medium-sized businesses alike, as well as options for easy expansion into new markets.

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