Tech Transformers

US start-up WeWork raises $500 million from SoftBank and Hony Capital to expand into China

Key Points
  • WeWork has raised $500 million from SoftBank and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital.
  • The money will be used to expand into China.
  • WeWork is a start-up that sells individuals or businesses co-working spaces.
Adam Neumann, co-founder and former chief executive officer of WeWork.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Co-working space start-up WeWork has raised $500 million to set up shop in China, the company announced on Thursday.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital led the investment.

The investment created an entity that will operate under the name WeWork China and will allow the company to expand its operations into new cities next year and increase its current footprint in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

"Since coming to China only a year ago, we've been able to establish a vibrant community of creators and companies - and we've only just begun," Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork, said in a press release on Thursday.

WeWork allows individuals or businesses to hire desks or offices at a monthly rate. It currently has more than 155 physical locations in 50 cities and 15 countries around the world.

SoftBank and WeWork have an existing relationship. Earlier this month, the two agreed on a joint venture to launch its co-working spaces in Japan.

In February, CNBC reported that SoftBank was close to finalizing a $3 billion investment in WeWork. A SoftBank spokesperson declined to comment on whether this latest funding round is going to make up part of that.

Then in March, the Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank had invested $300 million in WeWork, with more tranches of funds expected down the line which would total $3 billion. Bloomberg then reported earlier this month that WeWork had closed a $760 million round of funding.

The $500 million investment announced Thursday may therefore be part of the bigger round that SoftBank was targeting. WeWork has not responded to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC.

SoftBank has been on an aggressive investment path since announcing its $93 billion Vision Fund back in May, which includes investors such as Apple and Qualcomm. Investments so far include self-driving car start-up Nauto and chipmaker Nvidia. The WeWork investment has likely come from the Vision Fund, but a SoftBank spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.