WeWork Enters JV With SoftBank, Prepares For Japanese Expansion
Thanks to a joint venture with telecom giant SoftBank, WeWork will expand its co-working concept into Japan. WeWork Japan will be split 50/50 between the two firms, giving the New York-based shared-economy company the opportunity to connect its 130,000 members to Japan's robust and growing market, SoftBank announced in a release.
“WeWork is disrupting preconceived notions of work styles and opening up myriad opportunities for the next generation of creators around the world by taking a scientific approach that fully utilizes the latest technologies,” SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement. “With this joint venture, we look forward to collaborating with WeWork to offer new possibilities for people in Japan.”
The first WeWork Japan location is slated to open in Tokyo early next year, and WeWork has appointed former Chief Operating Officer Chris Hill to oversee the Japanese business as CEO of WeWork Japan. SoftBank’s interest in the co-working giant reportedly goes back to earlier this year. A report surfaced in February that Japan’s SoftBank was in talks with WeWork to invest between $3B and $4B. Though this deal has not been confirmed, Forbes reports SoftBank did invest $300M in WeWork in March and Crunchbase lists the company as a major investor.