Chinese WeWork Rival Seeks New Funding Round to Expand

Kr Space Ltd., the provider of co-working spaces that competes with WeWork Cos. in China, is seeking to raise at least $200 million in a new funding round, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Beijing-based startup would use fresh funds to support further expansion, according to the people. It aims to achieve a post-money valuation of about $1.3 billion, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Kr Space has also been weighing the option of merging with a rival, the people said.

Competition in China’s shared office space is heating up as the industry goes through consolidation. In April, WeWork bought smaller local rival Naked Hub to strengthen its hold in the country.

Kr Space, which was started in 2014, already counts IDG Capital, Gobi Partners and Prometheus Capital among its investors. The startup is an affiliate of 36Kr, a Chinese online media company backed by billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Deliberations are at an early stage, and details of Kr Space’s plans could change, the people said.

A representative for Kr Space declined to comment.

Kr Space has 40 shared office locations with 300,000 square meters (3.2 million square feet) of floor space, according to a May press release. It rents desk and offices to more than 2,000 companies and 20,000 individual members, it said.

WeWork’s China ambitions began in 2016 with an office in Shanghai, and as of April it had more than 10,000 members across more than a dozen Chinese offices. Last year, the company raised $4.4 billion from SoftBank Group Corp. for its global operations and a trio of Asian subsidiaries. The funding valued WeWork at about $20 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

— With assistance by Ellen Huet

(Updates with details on Kr Space’s business in seventh paragraph.)

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