In this WOI piece, we look at why businesses are moving to Wong Chuk Hang and away from the Central Business District (CBD) of Central and Admiralty.
Where is Wong Chuk Hang?
Wong Chuk Hang, literal translation from Cantonese “Yellow Bamboo Pit”, is an area in the Southern District of Hong Kong which has seen extensive expansion in the last 10 years. With prominent buildings such as One Island South becoming popular for businesses especially those in the creative and fashion industries. Wong Chuk Hang has all the business benefits of working in Central, but not the growing list of disadvantages including sky-high rental and small spaces.
Today, we will look to answer what the benefits of moving are and specifically why creatives are being drawn to Wong Chuk Hang.
Initiatives such as The HK Walls has helped make Wong Chuk Hang the perfect location for creatives
Virtual vs. in-person operations
Rent is undoubtedly one of the biggest expenses that businesses in Hong Kong face. In response to rental pressures and an argument in favour of remote operations, many businesses have moved to an entirely virtual operation. Whilst the evidence is there to support remote working as a viable model, there are still significant benefits to working together in person with flexible and hybrid working being the favoured model among the vast majority of workers. Employers and business owners are recognising this and understanding the need to offer spaces that reflect the need to connect by embracing flexible or hybrid working. In a recent Microsoft report, it was found that:
- Over 65 percent of the questioned workforce are craving more in person time with their teams.
- 66 percent of business decision makers approached for the report are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
The business argument for Wong Chuk Hang
According to statistia.com in Q1 2021 the average monthly rent for grade A office space in Hong Kong’s Central district amounted to $1,087 HKD per square metre. This is in stark comparison to Wong Chuk Hang, where office space in a similar Grade A building such as One Island South for example where JLL lists the asking price as $322.917per square metre per month. This represents a 70.3 percent decrease in potential rental cost.
Grade A office options provided by One Island South in Wong Chuk Hang | Creatives can enjoy all the characteristics of warehouse buildings mixed with the modern amenities that revamped spaces such as Metro Workspace’s newest offering The Urban Woods can offer
A massive saving in rent presents an obvious opportunity to any business to reallocate funds into other business areas. This cost differential example relates only to Grace A newer buildings; the saving may be even greater in industrial, warehouse style buildings such as the Remex Centre where coworking operator, Metro Workspace has recently launched their newest space, Urban Woods.
Gone are the days when people used to have to get on a bus at Admiralty to reach the South Side. With the opening of the South Island line in December 2016, travelers just need a quick change at Admiralty MTR station the South Island line. This connects Wong Chuk Hang with the rest of Hong Kong, with just an 8-minute travel time to Admiralty MTR station which allows easy connections to both Kowloon and the rest of Hong Kong Island. For creatives who prefer to drive or take the bus to work, Wong Chuk Hang is still a great option as (unlike Central), there is no “rush hour” or shortage of parking. The district is very easy access to the popular residential areas of Pok Fu Lam, Repulse Bay, Stanley and is typically just a 10-minute drive to the Central Harbour Tunnel which allows easy access to Kowloon and the New Territories, a much quicker option than the dreaded traffic of Gloucester Road. Such accessibility has led to large corporations including insurance giant, AXA to move its entire Hong Kong presence into Wong Chuk Hang.
One of the biggest incentives for creatives to move to Wong Chuk Hang is the proximity to peers. In fact, Wong Chuk Hang can now be considered a hub with a thriving community of creatives from different industries, including large corporations, SME’s, entrepreneurs, and small studios. The list that has moved to Wong Chuk Hang is endless; Tatler, for example has moved its Hong Kong headquarters to Wong Chuk Hang. Aside from Tatler, other businesses such as Hula, Retykle, Pedder Group and FarFetch are also based in the area. This district has also seen an explosion of galleries including leading international art galleries such as Axel Vervoordt Gallery and de Sarthe alongside local Hong Kong brand, Blindspot Gallery.
Hula’s HQ is based in Wong Chuk Hang
Lower rent can help a struggling business reduce costs; it can also provide a growing business with larger premises, without breaking the bank. As an example, WOI recently relocated to The Urban Woods, taking a larger office to accommodate a growing team without any increase in rent.
Another example is established fashion business, Vestiaire that built custom Asia headquarters in Wong Chuk Hang. This brand requires both form and function and designed a beautiful, expansive loft space with vast storage for its inventory. The large premises with high ceilings, ample lights, and loft-style design won over Vestiaire’s European co-founder, Fanny Moziat.
Whilst businesses were once skeptical about moving to Wong Chuk Hang, this is now not the case, and it is increasingly becoming common for businesses both large and small to relocate to the area. Cynthia Li, Regional Director with JLL’s Hong Kong Capital Markets team notes that “Wong Chuk Hang will become South Side’s answer to Quarry Bay”.
WOI founder, Sarah Keates said, “it is a small but growing community with extensive government investment and amenities including a hospital, parks, hotels, and new developments including shopping malls. I am confident that Wong Chuk Hang is the right space for WOI and that its popularity will continue to increase in line with its development. We are incredibly happy with our space in Metropolitan Workspace’s Urban Woods. It is peaceful, productive, convenient, connected, and spacious – which is more than we could achieve in one space in other locations including Central. As an added bonus, there are multiple running routes and hikes nearby, so it’s perfect for our active team.”
We hope to see you around the Wong Chuk Hang neighbourhood soon!
Thank you for reading this WOI article which was written by Xavier Christopher.
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