Founded in 2013, Synergy Biz Group (“Synergy”) is a consultancy and property management company dedicated to mainstreaming the concepts of the sharing economy in Hong Kong. Synergy develops underutilised properties into innovative, practical and affordable co-living and co-working spaces across Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
The concept of co-living and co-working spaces is becoming increasingly popular, with recent projections suggesting that by 2020, over 1.5 billion workers worldwide will conduct their work without being confined to an individual office desk space. According to the most recent International Housing Affordability Survey, the Hong Kong property market is the most expensive among the 309 metropolitan housing markets surveyed (Cox and Pavletich 2020), and the Worldwide Cost of Living 2020 report ranked Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world, along with Paris and Zurich (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2020). As the option to purchase a flat becomes increasingly out of reach and the stock of affordable housing depletes, a major challenge is to provide safe, affordable and flexible working and living spaces for young professionals.
Synergy’s team, consisting of architects, planners and developers, aims to meet the complex needs of the youth by mainstreaming the concepts of co-living and co-learning spaces. The company works to revitalise underutilised industrial and commercial properties into creative, practical and affordable living spaces and serviced offices that help increase the property value and the rate of return for potential investors. The co-living and co-working concept, part of the vision of a sharing economy, has already proven successful in many European and American cities. A major aim for Synergy is to develop co-living spaces that are capable of fostering close social ties, emulating that of traditional housing estates in Hong Kong. Located in Yau Ma Tei, their latest and largest co-living development “Bibliothèque” is converted from a series of old, five-storey buildings and provides more than 150 capsule-sized rooms and bigger common spaces shared by all tenants. The rent for a room starts at HK$3,500 a month, which is significantly cheaper than renting a flat in the traditional property market and also covers the maintenance of communal spaces, entertainment facilities and other amenities.
Driven by a demand for affordable housing, Synergy now operates nine co-working spaces and two co-living spaces, covering 30,000 sq. ft. of co-working spaces and 20,000 sq. ft. of co-living spaces. Bibliothèque was significantly oversubscribed with over 400 people applying for the 160 beds in the development. The impact of the co-living and co-working concept is most evident among the younger generation, with over 90% of the tenants at Bibliothèque students and young professionals aged between 18 and 35.
Cox, Wendell, and Hugh Pavletich. "16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2020." Demographia Website, Demographia, USA, January 2020. http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf. Accessed October 28, 2020.
"The Worldwide Cost of Living 2020.” The Economist Intelligence Unit. London, United Kingdom, 2020. https://www.eiu.com/n/campaigns/worldwide-cost-of-living-2020. Accessed 23 December 2020.