Ucommune, a Chinese rival to WeWork Cos., is in talks with international investors to raise about US$200 million in a series D financing round as it prepares for an initial public offering as early as next year.
Hong Kong is the most likely place for the listing and the company has held informal initial talks with stock exchange officials there, founder Mao Daqing said in an interview in Singapore, where he opened Ucommune’s second co-working space in the country on Tuesday.
Ucommune is racing against WeWork and local rivals such as MyDreamPlus to become China’s leading provider of shared office space amid a boom among technology startups. On Tuesday it announced a new 300 million yuan (US$44 million) funding that valued the business at US$1.8 billion.
“We are planning to go for the capital market for more financing to expand more quickly,” Mao said. “We already have the kind of scale; we are the second-largest in the world in terms of locations, number of members we are serving and the number of cities we are covering.”
The company, which was known as UrWork until it changed it name after a WeWork lawsuit, has made China it’s top priority with plans to have 300 locations in the country within the next two to three years. Outside of China, the company plans to open its third space in Singapore and Hong Kong soon. It’s also planning to open new space in Bangkok, he said.
“China’s market is not mature yet, and it has a large number of cities,” Mao said.
WeWork said this month it plans to add as many as 50 new locations in the Greater China region by the end of this year. It’s raising funds beyond China at a rapid clip, most recently getting US$1 billion from SoftBank Group Corp. in the form of a convertible note. And Beijing MyDreamPlus Technology Co. Ltd. announced it had raised US$120 million on Monday.