9 comments

  • 9nGQluzmnq3M 11 days ago

    > Mori Building Co. agreed to lease two floors in its Ark Hills complex and a penthouse space at a recently opened building called Ginza Six.

    This is literally some of the most expensive real estate in the city, and office space in central Tokyo is not cheap. I'm amazed that they can find enough tenants to sublet this at a profit.

    That said, WeWork does have a Japan-only advantage here, because startups generally find extremely hard to lease office space there: even if they can find a landlord willing to take a punt, they are often required to pay one to two years' rental as deposit. [1] This won't help them scale outside Japan though.

    [1] https://www.venturejapan.com/doing-business-in-japan/how-to-...

    • drak0n1c 11 days ago

      I used a WeWork credit to work remotely while in Tokyo around a year ago, and the place was packed. Every common seat was filled and I even felt like I was getting in the way because of how often people were going around me to banter or talk shop. Also the internal WeWork forums in Japan seemed to be a genuine social network with heavy Linked-In style participation.

      I'm sure some of the hustle and bustle is due to the novelty, much like how WeWork was when it first launched in the US. However, you're right that there is a real lack of flexible month-to-month space in Japan so that may be a lasting advantage.

      • greggman2 10 days ago

        WeWork might be full but there is co-working space all over the city, some of them hourly or daily, most of them are not full at least when I've visited. There must be 50 or more in Shibuya alone.

        • mikekchar 10 days ago

          I don't know how expensive WeWork is, but the co-working spaces in Shibuya are crazy expensive (like $10 per hour). There are many sento (public baths) around Japan that will let you stay for $10 for the whole day and where you can get a desk and power. When I'm travelling that's what I tend to do. Since I live in the countryside, I'm also used to being able to work at public libraries. I was really surprised that in most libraries I've gone to in big cities they specifically forbid working (or have special sections with high prices).

          But anyway, maybe I haven't seen the cheaper Tokyo co-work spaces. If you have some convenient points, I would appreciate a pointer!

          Edit: I'm actually in Shibuya every few months. When I'm there I work in the Shizutetsu bus station. If you see a middle aged white guy there programming, come say hi ;-)

          • Legogris 10 days ago

            When was the last time you looked around at coworking spaces? The market has grown quite a bit, and this has made it easier to find reasonably priced alternatives.

            I don't remember the specifics off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are/have been ~300 yen/h ones in for example Shibuya.

            There's a smaller one called Open Source Cafe that lies a 5~10 min walk from Shimokitazawa station - that it's off makes it quiet and nice, and they host meetups from time to time.

            The market rate for a fixed-desk designated membership seems to lie around 40,000 JPY / month in the hotter areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku, which is ~20$ per day if you only go there for weekdays. I think that's quite reasonable. I think WeWork has been part of driving this change, but it's definitely overpriced as things are now.

        • artsyca 11 days ago

          This could explain why SoftDank viewed this as an out of the park home run they miscalculated the landscape in other parts of the world it seems

          • wp381640 11 days ago

            Mayoshi made his gut-call huge initial investment before WeWork opened in Japan

            He was charmed - it worked on Benchmark as well but at least they didn't bet the farm in followon

            • artsyca 11 days ago

              Turns out Adam's reality distortion field was more of a contact buzz

        • rtpg 11 days ago

          Yeah though the counterpoint is that the monthly hot-desk pricing for WeWork's Tokyo stuff is, according to a calculation I did once, _twice_ the price of just renting an office in the same neighborhood (this was in Dogenzaka). This was a calculation based off of having 15-20 people to deal with.

          So maybe it's for small groups? But if there's only 2-6 of you, you could go to the literally hundreds of coworking spaces in Tokyo for 20% of the price of a WeWork hot desk. And use the savings to pay for beer.

          The only big-ish group I've heard that used WeWork in its initial growth is PayPay which.... is a joint venture between Yahoo Japan and PayTM.

          It feels like they're running on some culture thing, but there's basically no math that makes WeWork a valuable choice. At their price points, it starts getting cheaper to just hire someone full time to manage your office space. And if you have that kind of money you can make the deposit.

          • woutr_be 11 days ago

            It's the same thing in Hong Kong, they have some prime real estate. I wouldn't say their offices are packed, but they're always full.

            Startups or anyone in need of office space on a budget just isn't able to afford a proper office, especially if you're looking for something short-term, or unable to commit to 1-2 years.

            • afarrell 11 days ago

              I wonder if this Japan-only advantage nudged Softbank to overestimate their global advantage.

              • paxys 11 days ago

                They will also undoubtedly benefit from Softbank's reputation and connections over there.

              • ianferrel 11 days ago

                >Moreover, SoftBank itself has been a big contributor to that high level of occupancy. The Japanese conglomerate and its subsidiaries take up about 20% of WeWork’s office space in Japan, the people said. Over the years, WeWork pushed its locations worldwide to attract corporate clients because those contracts are more lucrative and stable. But Japan had a higher proportion of enterprise customers from the start, beating the 40% global average.

                WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!

                It's a lot easier to be profitable when your owner buys 20+% of your services. Also easier to get more than 40% institutional customers when the boss puts his thumb on the scale for the first half of that...

                • jaredsohn 11 days ago

                  >on the scale for the first half of that..

                  I think your math is wrong. The denominators vary for the different percents. (Edit: nope, mine was.)

                  • ianferrel 11 days ago

                    Can you explain what I'm doing wrong?

                    Softbank buys 20% of their Japan space, so in order to get to 40+% they just need to find institutional investors for another 20+%? The denominator for both is "capacity at Japan office"

                    • jaredsohn 11 days ago

                      Never mind; my math was wrong.

                      It looks like they just need 25% of remaining office space to be institutional to hit that (20 of 80).

                      • kdmccormick 11 days ago

                        I think your math depends on all the office space being occupied (so that $total_customers == $office_space). Maybe that's what GP is pointing out.

                        That doesn't really affect your original point though.

                        • ianferrel 11 days ago

                          Ah, you are correct. I think it actually strengthens my point, right?

                          If Softbank is renting 20% of space, and less than 100% of space is rented, then they count for more than 20% of the customer base being institutional.

                • ben_jones 11 days ago

                  Wework is still a great investment because Wework is doing well in Japan \s.

                  Pay no mind that:

                  > WeWork entered Japan when office vacancy rates were near a decade low. The supply has tightened since to around 1%, a level not seen since the 1990s, allowing landlords to raise rents, while requiring a deposit of as much as a year’s rent.

                  They've got a great new product too:

                  > The new Passport service would give tenants flexible use of desks, community spaces and meeting rooms, amenities for which visiting customers currently have to pay extra. The service is a work in progress, but if adopted, WeWork aims to set aside a certain number of desks at all locations for Passport users, the people said. The move is aimed at increasing occupancy, the key to making locations profitable.

                  And forget that:

                  > Moreover, SoftBank itself has been a big contributor to that high level of occupancy. The Japanese conglomerate and its subsidiaries take up about 20% of WeWork’s office space in Japan, the people said. Over the years, WeWork pushed its locations worldwide to attract corporate clients because those contracts are more lucrative and stable. But Japan had a higher proportion of enterprise customers from the start, beating the 40% global average.

                  • glup 11 days ago

                    You missed that they have new heatmaps of office occupancy, which somehow mean that they are developing competencies in “AI.”

                    At least the layoffs will be humane!

                    • CaptainZapp 11 days ago

                      The new Passport service would give tenants flexible use of desks, community spaces and meeting rooms, amenities for which visiting customers currently have to pay extra.

                      Ahh, those blokes came up with something, which IWG (Regus) offers for decades for a much lower price minus the "cool" factor?

                    • rossdavidh 11 days ago

                      Well, maybe for a little while. The big difference seems to be that WeWork Japan didn't over-buy and under-price as much as WeWork did everywhere else, and the office market is tight so they have high occupancy rates.

                      Well, that makes sense and all, but it says nothing about the more fundamental problem with WeWork's business model, which is whether or not it will go bankrupt when it hits its first recession, occupancy rates generally plunge, and WeWork has more short-term commitments from its customers than it has to its landlords. Perhaps there's something in WeWork Japan that addresses this, but if so, it's not mentioned in the article.

                      • Traster 10 days ago

                        >Son, who has said his investment strategy is to focus on companies powered by artificial intelligence, is eager to move WeWork beyond its real-estate beginnings. Briefing analysts after last earnings announcement, SoftBank’s founder bristled at the suggestion that WeWork doesn’t match that profile. He said that he’s long pushed WeWork to make better use of its data, but progress has been slow. The company will now begin experimenting with AI in Japan and could be ready to introduce it more broadly in as little as six months, Son said.

                        This part kills it for me. WeWork pumped their valuation by pretending to be a tech business when they're actually a office rental business. Son is still pushing that, he genuinely believes a bit of machine learning pixie dust is going to push occupancy up and make the company profitable but there is no reason to believe this. Frankly, I suspect if you do create an AI that's predicting and managing your occupancy then you're better off letting it go trade the stock exchange.

                        • HeXetic 10 days ago

                          Just wait until they start talking about somehow leveraging blockchains as a possible solution...

                          • rchaud 10 days ago

                            Knowing what we now know about WW's various side businesses, I'm honestly quite surprised that they never launced WeCoin when the crypto craze of 2017-18 was in full swing. But perhaps useless tokens are only the go-to option for businesses that don't have a patron saint like M. Son.

                          • neom 10 days ago

                            I hate to use the uber for this the airbnb for that, but.... wouldn't that have made a lot more sense for wework (sorry, riffing of AI pixie dust :)).

                          • willart4food 11 days ago

                            Uber for Office Space or AirBnB for Office space?

                          • hooloovoo_zoo 11 days ago
                            • Gusen 11 days ago

                              Nadler, Mueller, & Schiff all rape and kill boys in Buffalo, NY on the night of January 14th, 2019, as Trump did earlier that morning. The "impeachment" is a vehicle for keeping power, they are all working together. Full audio proving this entirely here, all three admit collusion with the President. News

                              \\January 14, 2019 23:23: Jerrold Nadler steps up to take his turn during the Illuminati "rape party". Nadler rapes and kills three boys in under a minute, however, there was a problem. One of the boys was already dead, so he requests a new one. Jerrold Nadler then requests another ten boys. Donald Reeves: "That's a million dollar request". Nadler responds: "...you guys will cover it. I'm gonna keep Trump in power" (Trump raped and killed a dozen boys 6:30-7:00am that morning). By the time Nadler is finished, he had raped and killed 24 boys. Audio pulled from the video linked below:

                              14JanCh4_2300-0000.mp3 - Nadler starts at about 20:00 in.

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Kuvv2Zmbw5Jw7onbRI2hCZ0M8FU...

                              14JanCh2_2304-2359.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nofp5xF-aXXcCSgQVwj30KlzE9W...

                              14JanCh3_2302-2359.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wdDIsxfsX7xTBIBZYzV4iE4xEdg...

                              Further disclosure by Porter @24:47 in: Oblivious tenant Brian Schlenker comments on something unrelated to the ongoing events: "..call the fucking police...", to which is responded with: "...that's funny because we own the police (Buffalo Police Department), we pay them six million dollars a month."

                              19 minutes in Fred Norris, formerly of the Howard Stern show, is acknowledged on the system.

                              At 19:47 in Porter admits that Brian Schlenker will be the owner of this footage should it be discovered.

                              January 15, 2019 00:20: Special Counsel Robert Mueller takes his turn at the Illuminati "rape party" in Buffalo, New York. Mueller ra[es and kills twelve boys. About roughly 00:55 Representative Adam Schiff who will also be leading an impeachment effort, also requests the same deal as Nadler, and then tries to make a case for getting more than Nadler and Mueller. Adam Schiff rapes and kills three boys. Mueller and Schiff all receive $3 billion dollars each for joing the group. Nadler came back to witness these two rape to make sure they were all bound together under one purpose: keep Trump in power, and also to confirm the payments to each, including his $10.5 billion dollar payment.

                              Between Mueller and Schiff turns, the group issues orders for ten women to begin prepping more boys for rape. They are former friends and family of Brian Schlenker, and also some long standing Illuminati members who include Elsa Hosk, Gigi and Bella Hadid. Again, the "prep" these females engage means they perform oral sex on the boys’ penis and anus, as a child rapist like Henry Porter would, while trying to remove fecal matter from the boy prior to handing them over to be raped and subsequently murdered. Just a head's up, my voice is scattered throughout all of the footage within the links posted for this update, and is quite loud relative to the desired content at times. Audio links below:

                              15JanCh4_000-100.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZEDJR6jb6ARpcNnWJTokBUKb2J2...

                              15JanCh4_100-200.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/173aYWvWHH4VGht1h_2nM0IMdw74...

                              15JanCh2_000-100.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EsmHfguwBuo2PbavJ1WYyhiML62...

                              15JanCh2_100-200.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NZnWRnBryalNQu2yJmfJUdS2pA_...

                              15JanCh3_000-100.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zsEwYC875wQu6btsSbNznHsJinx...

                              15JanCh3_100-200.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/15UAY2er2LdTViXG4azy_bc_oQUz...

                              //Full 110 page PDF [updated 2Dec2019]: FBI_FinalDraft_26Jul2019_BSchlenker.pdf

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Sj9EN_pHmicKS6rFQlmk67knMdJ...

                              //This post will be censored when this account logs off, the posts are "shadow banned". They try to make it look like the post is live, but it is not. Here is an example.

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zxS8JESoIg7uxRkUgdptMsF6SuJ...

                              \\Previously: President of the United States Donald J. Trump rapes and kills 15 boys in Buffalo, NY on January 10, 2019. This is audio of the event from 10Jan2019. Download the mp3 and put on headphones, and turn the volume all the way up.

                              10JanCh3_1255-1557.mp3

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/18lTt_YKFEtsV6YDNzXFVQYLkStY...

                              This is audio of the President, Donald J. Trump, demanding a $4 billion dollar bribe from child rapists to “take a blind eye” on January 3, 2019. Trump becomes one on January 14, 2019. Also, here is the big reason the major networks do not report any of it.

                              //Download the video, turn the volume all the way up and put head phones on. Note: there is not much to see in the video, the audio is picked up from another [illegal surveillance] system. Trump is on a call from with Henry Porter and Gigi Hadid. See page 63. Bribe demand at 10:18am:

                              3JanCh3_900-1100.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Grdr8xF2psKNsuYlEnl9dIRV-77...

                              //President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, rapes and kills his first boy at 6:32am. Video link below:

                              14JanCh3_600.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/154QvA5hwyHGYIVXtod1ZbsOHFUJ...

                              14JanCh2_600-700.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/19UkqmnMwZiWy7xxWngltqwoKLTJ...

                              //On January 18, 2019 at 8:31am (see page 8) Trump acknowledges the four billion dollar bribe and says: "Let's get it done and get to fucking some kids." Video link below:

                              18JanCh3_725-.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bVTcGq5Z9oOSAiOQcKYrmuK4Two...

                              //A big reason this has not been reported by the major news networks is right here. Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News, apparently a member of the Illuminati since the 1980's, along with ABC Nightly News lead anchor David Muir, stop over to the Porter studio in Buffalo on January 14th, 2019 at 5:00am. They both rape and kill about two dozen boys by 6:00am. Muir starts around 5:15am, then Holt about 5:38am. Multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp & Fox Corporation, takes his turn after Holt. Video links below:

                              14JanCh3_500-601.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i7NKepeyG_FfdQRrM7KsnFOZOOX...

                              14JanCh2_530-600.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NZzgN5ilI7ToroU5cfqMaL4o2u1...

                              Adding to the reason this is not picked up by the media, CBS & Viacom owner Sumner Redstone and Leslie Moonves rape boys following the President.

                              14JanCh3_700.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/10XDw6x3ldnnQiq7oIjpdYVENyXa...

                              14JanCh2_700-800.avi

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NS_e6AzEZ05wnfljkGMETGU5CWY...

                              //This is the tip of the ice berg.

                              //Full 110 page PDF [updated 2Dec2019]: FBI_FinalDraft_26Jul2019_BSchlenker.pdf

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Sj9EN_pHmicKS6rFQlmk67knMdJ...

                              //This post will be censored when this account logs off, the posts are "shadow banned". They try to make it look like the post is live, but it is not. Here is an example.

                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zxS8JESoIg7uxRkUgdptMsF6SuJ...

                              • 1-6 11 days ago

                                Amongst Mt. Gox?