Tencent announced on Wednesday a partnership between its Tencent Incubation Center and SOHO 3Q, the shared working space owned by Chinese real estate tycoon, Pan Shiyi.
Space in the new incubation center will be provided by local government, and is set to be offered to entrepreneurs “at a very low price” or even for free.
Tencent will supply products, incubation services, branding services and Internet industrial resources to entrepreneurs residing in the incubation center while SOHO 3Q will be responsible for interior design, construction management, marketing promotion and operations management.
Entrepreneurs need to apply and be first evaluated by Tencent prior to entering the SOHO 3Q managed space. SOHO 3Q expects to offer 10,000 working spots in Beijing and Shanghai by the end of 2015, with a ten-fold increase expected in two years.
The Tencent Incubation Center builds upon Tencent’s Open Platform for developers. Tencent announced in April that it would open 25 incubation centers in 2015 with a total space of over 500,000 square meters. Incubation centers in seven cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu have already been opened to entrepreneurs.
SOHO 3Q was launched in January with an online booking and payment system but was controversial for its high price and limited support for entrepreneurs. A subsidiary of 58.com, one of China’s biggest O2O companies, recently moved into one of the SOHO 3Q properties. SOHO’s other properties in eastern and northern Beijing are preferred spots for entrepreneurs and startups including Uber China, Flipboard, Linkedin, AppAnnie, popular online education app — Yuantiku, startup community and office rental provider — DayDayUp and Apus Group, a newly emerged unicorn.
Tencent isn’t the only active player in the incubation space in China. JD.com, China’s second-biggest e-commerce platform, launched their first incubator/milk tea house in Shenzhen last month. Beijing’s Zhongguancun Industrial Park launched its plans for an upgrade last week, aimed at transforming its current electronics market into a tech startup aggregate spread out over a space of 1.7 million square meters.
(Featured photo from SOHO 3Q)