Naked ambition: WeWork's $400m China growth deal

China's Jack Ma wannabes are desperate for hip, shared office space. US giant WeWork is buying rival Naked Hub to put it on the fast track to serve the booming start-up scene.

The trend for co-working in which startup founders, corporate employees and freelance workers park their laptops and rub shoulders in well-appointed offices at hip locations has swept the world in recent years.

In 2007, there were just 14 such spaces globally. A decade later, there were more than 14,000, according to research from co-working group GCUC, which sees the total hitting 30,000 by 2022.

And nowhere is the potential greater than in China, where a thriving startup scene, boosted by a well-funded venture capital industry, has encouraged young people to dream of making billions as the next Jack Ma.

WeWork, the US...

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