Maybe Another Shot At Doing a Shenzhen Coworking Office

In china business by Michael Michelini14 Comments

Not even a couple months ago I was stressing about how to deal with the future of the current SZteam coworking space in High Tech park. Like I had said, the space moved faster than I was prepared and I tried my best to backtrack and make it work

This time, I am doing it differently. Last week at Christmas Eve dinner my friends Marshall, James, Chris, Tully, Erik and others were talking about coworking space, shared office. People really do need this service. Many are tired of working in coffee shops, bars, home offices.

I remembered many times I had talked to Mark Wong, owner from Sidewalk Cafe (now called Sorrelle Cafe) in Rose Garden 2 commercial district about a coworking space. He has a nice open 2nd floor of the coffee shop which he has utilized for a few other things. He rented it out to a company before, and he also used it for some sort of Chinese daycare / training center.

I also didn’t push too hard in the past conversations with him as the past couple years I have been traveling so much between Philippines, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Hong Kong how could I have committed to this local business venture.

But now the stars seem to have aligned

Mark and the other owners of Sorrelle cafe currently have the 2nd floor vacant, the daycare center they say was too loud. Also, the zoning on the 2nd floor didn’t have proper fire escape. Currently they are looking for a new tenant.

I am so lucky that on Christmas eve after talking with Marshall and others, James and I walked down the street to see what the deal was.

Below is what we are currently negotiating with them:

2nd floor
Shop #30 Rose Garden 2

Cafe hours from 7am to close at about 1am
Monthly cost for 2nd floor, 5,000rmb / month
VIP card for cafe food, drinks
Need air conditioner in conference room
Coffee shop lease is for 2 more years
Sign one year contract , maybe can do 6 mo
If 24 hour access, maybe need cafe staff working onsite….have to know who is who.
Second floor office size *************

Pro for this Shekou Coworking

  • Basically its ready to go
  • Will meet many more people in the area
  • Flexible in terms, know the owner / management for years
  • Seems like a reasonable price
  • Already have enough members that pretty much cover costs

Con For this Shekou Coworking

  • Seems a bit small
  • Mostly in foreigner area – mostly will be foreigners there – I want to deal more with Chinese since I’m in China!
  • Shekou is pretty far from Futian and Luo Ho, will this alienate those people?
  • Being inside a cafe, will we be able to make / bring our own coffee / food?

But all in all, I think I am ready to take this jump….I’ve been working inside Chinese Foreign Trade office lately, but miss the openness, friendliness of an open office…

I think this is destiny, and will confirm more this week.

Comments / feedback please!

Here is a video I recorded:

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  1. just follow your heart desires.. anyway in life its a gamble..atleast you did it and no what if in the future..

    1. True, but I seem like I’m forcing this one too fast…. Shenzhen is also so spread out! hard to centralize

  2. It may not work if there’s no expansion possibility.

    1. true , but its chicken or egg story – guess should have more committment before renting a place, then renting a big enough space.

  3. Seems like a nice community project, but it won’t make you rich.  
    If you really want to see this fly, convince the owners of the coffees shop that it is a viable business for them and help them pre-sign some customers… No risk for you!

    1. Good idea Renaud!!

      We are also thinking of a way to have pre-paid credits for the food/drinks downstairs – or if a certain amount of min. spend was used per month the rent would be subsidized.

      Yes, these community projects drain a lot of time…..and the “return” is basically a broad network of people.

      But i do love to know techies / entrepeneurs in the area around me

    2. and sort out some simple value exhange arrangment to lower the rent. VIP pricing for co-working space attendees and their guests. Half of Profit on co-working members tab is deducted from rent – shot from d hip! you get the idea 🙂

      1. Thanks Dave, get back to Shenzhen so we can discuss this more! I’m about 75% sure to do it….but need more pre-signups

        Michael Michelini
        eCommerce Consultant

  4. Good shot @mikemichelini:disqus . it’s true the city of SZ is so wide and you’ll never be able to centralize everybody. There is one tech park in shekou though #蛇口网谷#

    1. I’m in Shekou IT park now typing this reply.  There is also CC office, which is a co-op office but also pretty “open” similar to a coworking style- and they have branches all over the city.  The main point of this office is to have people TOGETHER, so having locations all over the city is difficult…..

      I also like to live / work in walking distance, and am trying to reach that goal…but currently living in Nanshan near Hai  Wang dasha so have to bus / taxi / ride a bike each day.

      the bike may be “good for health” as the chinese say.  

      1. wtf dude move to shekou already! 🙂

  5. remenber dragons lair elmwood west hartford
    that was like coworking  space
    but it was games magic

    1. Thanks dad, yea I remember that place … I guess its all about having like minded people together in the same place.

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