Simpliwork plans to enter Singapore, HK
Simpliwork Offices Pvt. Ltd is planning to expand its operations in overseas markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and ramp up presence in key cities in India, on the back of strong demand for flexible workspaces even as the second covid wave has slowed down demand for some operators.
“To a large extent, the whole pandemic has played spoilsport. Our plan was to have presence in Singapore and Hong Kong this year. We see that as a natural extension to the markets that we operate in. A lot of the occupiers in terms of IT etc. are very similar. They sit out of these centres. For us, it is also a brand strategy to extend our brand to more locations. Singapore and Hong Kong top the list. We are already looking for partners. There is a lot of inbound interest as well," Kunal Walia, founder and CEO, Simpliwork Offices said in an interaction.
The scale or expansion footprint in overseas markets would be very different compared to India, Walia said. The equivalent of a 200,000 sq ft space take-up in India is about 20,000 - 25,000 sq ft in Singapore or Hong Kong. While the occupiers are the same, the demand is different.
“We might cater to 6,000 seats as a norm in India. In Singapore, the equivalent would be a 100-seat set-up, in terms of the demand. Our preferred model would be to partner with someone to take the brand overseas. Whether we partner with a developer or a large financial institution, they should have a strong local presence. For our international expansion, we will be looking for a similar partner, who can come in with a significant amount of local expertise and local relationships," he added.
Simpliwork is current present in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi-Gurugram. The major aspect missing from its portfolio today is Noida and Chennai. It is in advanced discussions to have centres in Noida and Chennai later this year.
This year, the co-working operator leased around 1.85 lakh sq ft in Gurugram’s DLF Cyberhub and Cyberpark. Simpliwork has around 500,000 sq ft going live in the next 5-6 months.
For most flexible workspace firms, physically occupancy has been at 10-15% or below over the past year. With the vaccine rollout, it was expected that companies may slowly bring back employees by June-July. However, the surge in covid-19 cases this month has again brought uncertainty to the front.
“While decision-making may get postponed by another 30-60 days, a lot of these corporates are at pivotal points where they have to take decisions. So, if we are looking at an office space going live, for example, in September or December 2021, the decision will need to be taken by May or latest June," Walia said.