Archive for (co)Working in China
I’ve now been in Shenzhen for over a month and I feel like I’ve explored what’s out there in regards to coworking spaces. I live in Shekou, which means traveling to Luohu or Futien for a day of work is a bit of a waste of my precious time. Nevertheless, I’ll try to review the coworking situation throughout the city.
As you may have noticed, I couldn’t quite populate this blog by reviewing strictly legit coworking spaces across Asia. Sometimes I end up at Starbucks or other cafes and it’s almost just as good.
Shenzhen being heavily hardware kind of place, hacker and maker spaces (e.g. http://www.chaihuo.org/) are more common than plain old spots for digital nomads like me. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t kick me out of the hardware focused hacker space, so I should suck it up an go explore.
For now I’ve been working from:
1. Starbucks. Who can blame me? It’s the only place with affordable good coffee and OK internet. Although sometimes vpn is being blocked.
2. Emily’s at @ecool (Haichang street) and Emily’s at Nanhai Rose Garden on Wanghai & Gongyan South road.
The internet always delivers (whopping 14mbps download and disappointing 0.39mbps upload speed). There are plenty of power plugs, they even provide you an extension chord if needed.
Coffee is ok and sets you back no more than RMB22-30. There is also a myriad of options for lunch and dinner.
3. Beta cafe in Futien (Lianhuacun, blue line). I went there for the StartupGrind event and found out it’s a good place to work from and throw events at. Despite a bit of a trek to find it (it’s located in a flower market), it seems to be the closest thing to a coworking space.
Next, I’ll be checking out 3w Coffee Startup Cafe at the High Tech park.
After spending a year nomad working and coworking in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Beijing and Jinghong (Xishuangbanna), we made it back south to Kunming. It was a bit of a unfortunate timing to move here right on Spring festival, when the whole country of China migrates and shuts down business for a two week break.
As far we know, there is no coworking spaces in Kunming, yet. There are a few marked as coworking spots on Foursquare, but I highly doubt they are legit.
So far we’ve been working at the rooftop of the Lost Garden Hostel right at the Green Lake, where we happen to also sleep. The internet is most of the time good, for China’s standards of course; download speed 2.5 Mbps, upload 1 Mbps.
When I am not at Lost Garden, I am at the French Cafe, conveniently located on Wenlin Jie, aka the western street. Equipped with plenty power outlets, decent internet (which embarrassingly happened to be 0.26/0.28 at the time of this visit), delicious coffee and pastries, it’s a great spot to work from.
Are there any digital nomads in Kunming? Let’s get together!
Craving a cheesecake? Or cheese in general? This place will get you sorted.
Conveniently located halfway between Sanlitun and Gulou, this dessert/ salad / cheese place is a great place to work from. Why?
- Free unlimited filter coffee and tea refills
- Comfy chairs and sofas
- Good wifi
- Right next to Zhangzizhonglu (line 5) station
- Like 10 kinds of good cheesecakes (RMB28)
- Massive salads (RMB28)
The only annoying things:
- Some 5 French songs spinning on repeat all day. Bring headphones. Gosh makes me wonder how does the staff deal with it?!
- Stinks like durian- they have durian cheesecakes and some kind of durian rice cheese dish
- The bathroom is outside around the corner. A hutong bathroom. Means you have to leave your shit to go pee. Then suddenly you regret all the refills
- Chinese teenagers love this spot, especially after 6pm
257 Donsibei dajie, Dongcheng, Beijing
In case you’re not up for working all day at the coworking space, Caffe Habitu is the next best thing in Hong Kong. With multiple locations across town, including Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui, it’s a great place with FREE and UNLIMITED wifi. Not to mention delicious menu selection of pasta, salads, sandwiches and top notch Italian coffee.
If you’ve been to HK you know that finding a place where to work from can be a pain. The usual suspects such as Starbucks, Pacific Coffee and McDonald’s have a few networks to choose from, but they’re either limited to 30 minutes or require you to subscribe. Having heard of a few unfortunate credit card hacks in HK, I avoid paying online on public networks. If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate Habitu’s free no bullshit wifi.
Unfortunately the power plugs are not abundant, at least in the Wan Chai shop, just 4 for the whole place.
Made it to Hong Kong! In case some of you coworkers happen to be on a visa run or any other adventure in Hong Kong, don’t miss out on The Hive.
Although a day hot desking will set you back HKD300 ($40) and a month- HKD 4500 ($580), it’s worth it. Free wifi is so hard to find in HK, and even the one you find, it’s not that great.
I was welcomed by a super nice receptionist from Poland, who showed me around. They have 2 floors of hot desks and 1 floor of private offices, a sun terrace, meeting rooms, free coffee and tea, 24h access, storage locker and post boxes, which can serve as your “address” for setting up a HK company. Not a bad deal!
So, why else did I like it, despite the fact that they didn’t kick me out like the GOOD lab, where they told me to apply online to be able to hot desk! After going all the way to Kowloon, I had to go back and look for a coffee place to save the day…
Ok so back to the Hive. They also have networking events, where you can socialize with your “coworkers” and new people. The people working there seem nice and up to something- I would love to attend one of their events and hear what they’re actually up to!
It’s quiet, comfortable, good internet, nice view, easily accessible from Wan Chai MRT. A few nice places to eat at around, and bars to finish off the day.
You will find more places, perhaps suited to your location in this post on Quora:
21F The Phoenix Building,
23 Luard Road Hong Kong Hong Kong
After all this time working around Sanlitun and Gulou I finally made to the mysterious “far-away coworking spot in 798” which turns out has a name of YuanFen Flow. And it’s friggin awesome. You’ll have to see it for yourself, but imagine a combination of a contemporary art gallery, a loft, ex-ceramic insulator plant, someone’s house and of course a co-working space with hot desks, private offices and a cafe.
We were greeted by the chairman and curator- David Ben Kay who made us feel like at home, offered us some heavenly Vietnamese coffee and showed us around his creation- a 10 year’s worth of building, furnishing and decorating.
A day at this space will set you back 50RMB (including free flow of coffee!) or if you’re ready to commit for a month- 500RMB. There are some great deals for small teams to rent an office space too.
Despite the somewhat long commute (and too many temptations to ditch work and hangout in galleries and design shops), this place is truly a catch. I’ll be based here for now!
798 art district, Seven Stars East Street
(In between At Cafe and the Cave cafe)
I finally made it to The Bookworm and I’m thinking, where have you been all my life (in Beijing)! It is a bookshop, library, bar, restaurant and events space, and you’ll find it in Beijing, Suzhou and Chengdu.
It is super spacious, quiet- I mean no teenagers babbling, but latin lounge music is loud enough in some parts of the place.
Excellent location right across the Sanlitun Village and it’s a short walk from the Tuanjiehu (line 10) station.
You’ll find good internet, comfortable seating for your taste- comfy armchairs, tall bar stools, even spots for working standing up. You’ll find lots of books and even a piano if you wish to take a break from working.
Slightly on the downside – although their menu will satisfy your craving for western food, it’s on the pricier side, with breakfast 40-90RMB, 50-70 RMB sandwiches and salads.
One day I’m biking to Sanlitun and I see this masive Maan Coffee place that has a terrace and just looks grand. Had to check it out!
It turns out it’s one of the coolest places I’ve found so far to work from in Beijing- and 10 mins from the house so.. score! Bonus- open 9am-2am.
Talking about score, RMB19 for a large coffee and delicious waffles on the menu (RMB25-60), lots of space (it’s huge), a terrace (smokers will aprreciate) and just a very fancy yet cool atmosphere. It was very nice and quiet in the morning, but around 4 the students tarted creeping in doing their schoolwork and making noise. I also had a Skype call to make and it was just too noisy and the internet was not good for that.
So I’ll definitely be back there, but will make sure sto stop working or leave somehwere else in the afternoon.
Hard to miss: Due West of Workers’ Stadium North Gate, Gongti Bei Lu, Sanlitun, Chaoyang district / 朝阳区工体北路工体北门西
After spending some time at tha Garage cafe, I ventured out to see what’s else around there, primarily because my VPN wasn’t working at the Garage cafe.
3wcoffee is a two floor coffee place next to Teamwork cafe, well equipped for work and co-work. Good wifi (router with VPN), electrical sockets by nearly every table, upstairs quiet area for meetings or calls. Coffee was good (RMB28) and it wasn’t too crowded.
1 Shanyuan St. (Caihefang Rd., At 1/F of Lifangting), Beijing 100080