Online firms lead Asian office space leasing

20141007-bt-online-firms-lead-asian-office-space-leasing-pic [HONG KONG] Social media and e-commerce firms are driving office leasing activity in Asia after they took up the most new office space in the second quarter, overtaking financial companies, Cushman & Wakefield says.

Internet companies such as LinkedIn Corp and made up 21 per cent of the space taken up in the second quarter, compared with the 14 per cent by financial companies, according to the New York-based real estate services firm.

The new space they occupied was 1.1 million square feet, more than the previous three quarters combined, Cushman data shows.

New technology firms are emerging to fill the gap in the Asia office market that has been left by multinational banks, many of which have downsized or slowed expansion amid a tighter regulatory environment.

Asia is currently the fastest growing e-commerce region globally, with China's online retail sales volumes expected to hit US$1.5 trillion this year, Cushman says.

"One of the things that has been a catalyst of the recovery in the US is the growth in this sector," said Sigrid Zialcita, the Singapore-based managing director of research at Cushman. "We're seeing that also cascade to Asia Pacific."

LinkedIn leased space that was given up by Barclays plc in Singapore's financial district, people familiar with the matter said in May. Seattle-based Amazon and, China's largest e-commerce company after Alibaba Group Holding, took up more than 300,000 square feet in Beijing during the second quarter, while Facebook Inc also set up its office in the Chinese capital.

The overlapping of social media and e-commerce industries is driving acquisitions globally, a trend that will be an important driver for office leasing in Asia, Mr Zialcita said. - Bloomberg

Source: Business Times, 7 Oct 2014