China's co-working space operator, CDL ink tech joint venture

Real-estate developer City Developments (CDL) is making further inroads into proptech, as it inked a tech joint venture with Chinese co-working operator Distrii.

This was announced yesterday at the soft opening of Distrii's co-working space at CDL's Republic Plaza, a prime Grade A office building connected to Raffles Place MRT Station.

Distrii will work with CDL exclusively in South-east Asia to develop smart office and building apps.

CDL group chief executive officer Sherman Kwek said: "The whole point of these apps is to increase stickiness of tenants and our residential home buyers."

For instance, these apps will let users check available parking spaces, book meeting rooms, secure lockers and pay tenant bills online.

"It enables you to suddenly plug into an ecosystem and have everything at your fingertips," he added.

The apps will pilot at Republic Plaza by the first half of next year, and eventually be rolled out to all CDL properties, said Mr Kwek.

A glimpse of what is to come can be seen at the co-working space, which spans 62,000 square feet across six floors.

This is Singapore's largest single largest co-working facility.

Amenities include over 900 work stations, private offices and customisable team spaces, as well as a 200-person capacity multi-purpose hall and a German burger chain Hans im Gluck outlet.

The key feature of this co-working space is Distrii's proprietary enterprise collaboration and productivity tools.

This includes its own mobile app, which is backed by a cloud-based system and Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

In the app, there are attendance management functions, video conferencing and task allocation tools. A unique feature enables employers to check if a staff member is entering or leaving the co-working space. The app also allows keyless access to rooms and workspaces.

While the official opening will take place only in July, the co-working space has already secured an occupancy rate of over 60 per cent.

Membership, which covers the space and tools, starts from $550 a month for three months, in terms of hotdesking. Companies that want a dedicated desk will have to pay up to $750 a month.

CDL invested about $21 million in Distrii last year, making it the second largest shareholder after Distrii's founder.

Mr Kwek said a key reason CDL chose Distrii was the latter's strength in technology.

And innovation is going to be a "major third leg" for CDL, other than property development and recurring income business, he added.