China-based coworking operator Naked Hub sets sights on Hong Kong IPO: Reuters

Shanghai-based coworking space startup Naked Hub said on Friday it plans to go public in Hong Kong after a fresh round of fundraising next year, potentially adding more Chinese “new economy” companies to the Asian financial hub’s stock exchange.

Hong Kong is hoping to lure future listings by Chinese technology startups away from New York and Shenzhen. ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co (6060.HK) went public in September, raising $1.5 billion in the biggest ever IPO by a financial technology firm in Asia.

Naked Hub, backed by Hong Kong private equity firm Gaw Capital, said it expects to close its third financing round of up to $200 million by the end of this year.

“A few years down the line we’ll go public…probably in Hong Kong,” Grant Horsfield, founder and chairman of naked Group, the parent of naked Hub, said in an interview.

“There will be a D-round (fundraising) at some point next year, but that’ll be the final amount we’re raising until we go public.”

The company said it was too early to give an estimate of the size of the offering at this stage.

The startup is currently the largest coworking operator in Shanghai and is also present in over 35 locations across Asia.
It is aiming to benefit from the new “sharing economy” and growing office demand from startups.

In China, real estate developers and financial investors are capitalizing on fast-rising demand, as Beijing encourages startups and small businesses in a bid to offset slowing growth in a traditional industries.

Naked Hub announced in July a merger with Singapore’s JustCo to take on major rival WeWork by creating Asia’s largest premium co-working space operator.

U.S.-based WeWork set up a Chinese unit in July, with a $500 million investment from China’s Hony Capital and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), and said it would invest $500 million in Southeast Asia and South Korea.

WeWork, valued at about $16.7 billion in a funding round last year, has said it will launch an IPO in the future.