WeWork, a workspace firm that has expanded its presence in China, is vying for a chance to take on Starbucks’ market dominance with a new concept, according to a report in TechCrunch.
The company’s new service in China is called WeWork Go, and it lets customers rent desks by the minute with one important perk: free coffee — basically flipping the Starbucks model upside down.
It’s the latest company to provide a serious threat to the coffee giant. Another coffee company, Luckin Coffee, has also set its sights on Starbucks.
WeWork Go operates with an app that lets customers peruse a list of workspaces and their occupancy levels. Once they arrive they’ll scan a QR code and enter the space.
WeWork said it watches flow of people in and out of the offices very closely to avoid crowding. The company also said it acquired 50,000 registered users after a three-month pilot program with 18 locations around Shanghai.
Go works inside a WeChat mini program, instead of its own app, which allowed for easy development. It’s aimed toward people who are what the company calls “part-time users,” or individuals who wouldn’t necessarily purchase a monthly membership, but who “would work at home or a coffee shop, restaurant or library.”
WeWork, which is based in New York City and has locations around the world, is also debuting a Manhattan location of its Go service.
Dominic Penaloza, head of innovation and technology at WeWork China, said the company competes with coffee shops by offering “an alternative type of the third space for freelancers, mobile workers, business travelers or those who want to briefly step aside from their offices for a mental break.”
Go is more of a trial for users to decide if they want to actually commit to a monthly WeWork service.
“If you started as a WeWork Go member, and if you use our service quite a lot, you will realize it’s much more economical to purchase monthly subscriptions. WeWork Go enables WeWork to reach an entirely new market segment,” Penaloza said.