Alibaba Group in collaboration with People Squared have announced their first Smart Space on March 23 at the Shenzhen Ali Center, which will be the first smart co-working space in China.
In China, co-working spaces have been booming for last five years. With most facilities located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, companies such as Wework, Soho 3Q, Krypton Space and XNODE are now competing to attract freelancers and companies under their roof. If some of them - like Krypton Space and XNODE - are betting on incubators and innovation labs, most of coworking spaces in China are mainly relying on creative furniture and hardware to differentiate themselves.
It won’t be long until providing services such as management consulting, tax policy and co-branding become the next trends in coworking spaces. But for now, Alibaba - which recently took the plunge in the market with its Shenjing Smart Space - would rather focus on futuristic user experience, implementing all the technologies in its possession in the workspaces, to bring workers to its doors.
“Shenjing”means “amazing whale” in Chinese
Indeed, Shenjing Smart Space integrates multiple prototype applications of Alibaba smart architecture software and hardware, which involve facial recognition, QR code scanning, wireless screen projection, video conference, cloud printing/scanning, vehicle positioning for indoor navigation, online booking of space, mobile payment for rent, and even smart post office, etc. As all their actions will be connected to their smartphones and PCs, the members will have an easier understanding of their own communities and could engage with them.