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New Delhi:

In 2020, more large companies will opt for flexible coworking spaces for their short-term expansion plans, says a study that revealed that this segment is no longer driven solely by start-ups, millennials, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

While tech-giant Google has already leased office space with coworking operator Simple Work in Gurugram to expand its operations, even banks and telecom companies are keen on their teams to operate away from headquarters and closer to entrepreneurs, showed the research by real estate services company Anarock Property Consultant.

Towards 2018-end, the total supply of flexible workspaces was anywhere between 7-7.5 million sq. ft. area and it crossed 12 million sq. ft. by the end of 2019.

“Despite the WeWork debacle in the US dominating headlines and raising questions about the future of the coworking business, the segment has emerged as a viable asset class for landlords and operators in India,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman, Anarock.

“The coworking market has grown by leaps and bounds and is a significant factor in the strategy for occupiers,” he added.

There are currently more than 200 coworking players operating across India, with the top seven players in this space alone having more than 350 centers across multiple cities in the country.

These players include Cowrks, WeWork India, Awfis, Regus, Smartworks, 91springboard, and OYO’s Workspaces.

“This number is likely to double or even treble in the next two years, given the rate at which these leading players actively leased spaces across major cities in 2019,” Puri said.

The coworking sector has also witnessed the entry of major realty players. Bengaluru-based developer Brigade Group ventured into the coworking segment with the launch of ‘BuzzWorks’.

Hospitality player Roseate Hotels and Resorts has also forayed into this space by opening its first coworking center at its hotel ‘Roseate House’ in Delhi’s Aero City.

Even as US-based WeWork’s failed IPO raised doubts about the company’s future, WeWork India’s expansion remained on course.

Owned by the realty firm Embassy Group, the company has been mainly funded by Embassy so far and pays a management fee to the parent company.

With 37 operational coworking centers, the company is currently present in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurugram, Pune, Noida, and Hyderabad.

But 2019 also witnessed a growing wave of consolidation in the sector, in the form of mergers and acquisitions.

In fact, the consolidation wave had already begun in 2018, with major acquisitions like One Co.Work acquiring IShareSpace and AltF CoWorking acquiring Noida-based Daftar India, Puri said.

“The trend continued in 2019 with Oyo taking over Innov8 for Rs 220 crore. In 2020, we will see smaller or city-specific operators merge with national players looking to enter or establish themselves in tier II, III markets,” he added.

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