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Business

SoftBank to fund WeWork's China operation

$500m joint investment with Hony Capital in US co-working giant

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People visit the WeWork booth at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in Manhattan on May 15.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- SoftBank Group will jointly invest $500 million in the Chinese operation of U.S. shared office space giant WeWork with local investment company Hony Capital.

According an announcement from WeWork on Thursday, the company intends to accelerate new openings in the Chinese market, which has huge growth potential.

SoftBank and Hony Capital will each own minority stakes in a local unit to be set up by WeWork. Details such as the ratio of capital contribution have not been disclosed.

WeWork currently has eight locations in China -- in Beijing and two other cities. Starting in 2018, the company plans to launch locations in up to four new cities.

Established in 2010, WeWork has pioneered the concept of shared office spaces in the U.S. It operates co-working spaces in 50 cities and has more than 130,000 individual and corporate members around the world.

Though the company is unlisted, its valuation is believed to stand at $20 billion.

Both partners have an existing relationship with WeWork. Earlier this month, the company also announced a planned joint venture with SoftBank for its Japanese business, while Hony Capital invested in the company last year.

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