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New York-based WeWork acquires co-working space company naked Hub for 400 million USD

Co-working space arm of Shanghai-based Naked Group gets bought out

Photograph: naked Hub @ Nanjing Xi Lu
The Shanghai-born and bred co-working space company naked Hub has been acquired by WeWork China for a whopping 400 million USD, according to TechNode. The question on everyone's mind: is the co-working giant now going to be called 'WeWork naked'? 'naked WeWork'?

Consider the merger of publishing houses Penguin Books and Random House – they could have been Penguin House, Random Penguin, Random Penguin House, Random Penguin Books, and so on. They went with Penguin Random House.

Anyways... naked Hub was founded in 2015 as a co-working space branch to naked Group, which started in 2007 as a chain of Shanghai-based luxury resorts called naked Retreats. Since 2015, naked Hub has opened 66 locations in Asia, with 20 of them between Shangai and Beijing, and it has acquired a controlling stake in Australian co-working space Gravity.

Things seemed on the up and up for naked Hub, with their goal for 200 locations in five countries in Asia by 2020. However, local media report that naked Hub suffers significant talent loss, delayed C round funding, a bungled merger with Singaporean co-working space JustCo and a highly competitive co-working space industry.

Still, naked Group founder Grant Horsfield has emphasised to naked Hub employees that the WeWork acquisition is more of a merger than a sale, and that they would not have to worry about losing their jobs as a result. It seems that the rest of naked Group, which now also includes a retail product arm called naked Things, will be untouched by the WeWork acquisition.

WeWork, which dominates the US co-working space market, broke into China's market with a Shanghai location in 2016 and the company has plans to open locations in Chengdu, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shenzhen and Nanjing. Like many international companies looking to grow, WeWork must have big plans for China, and this naked Hub acquisition unveils their naked ambition.

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