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【從萬華玖樓的案例,我們能從中吸取哪些經驗?|時事新思維】What can we learn from the failure of Wanhua 9floor?


共享公寓在台灣是近幾年開始漸漸發展起來的空間營運模式,在國內又稱作 Co-Living 或 Share House,意思是一群人共同分擔一個居住空間的租金並生活在同個屋簷下,房客之間可能是陌生人或原本就認識。以往的共居大家可能會聯想到單純分擔房租,然而現在新興的生活模式和以往傳統的家庭式公寓分租又不太一樣。


傳統分租是由房客與房東(房屋持有者)直接租房,問題是房屋空間也許缺乏完善管理,進而影響居住品質,若遇到不良房東則日後可能會產生更多糾紛。而玖樓的經營方式是由其統一管理空間,以提供社群連結和提升住戶生活品質為目標,打造舒適的個人和公共空間,舉辦活動來增加房客之間互動的機會,並隨之發展成一個小社群來維繫各房客之間的關係。這樣的生活模式本是滿足現代都市年輕人在高壓的生活中一個與人連結的機會和空間,這樣看來,玖樓的理念是可行的,但萬華玖樓為何會失敗呢?


Co-Living is becoming a new lifestyle in Taiwan - also known as ‘Share House’. People live with others while sharing the rent. But now, the new co-living lifestyle means more than that.


Generally speaking, traditional house leasing involves only tenants and landlords (property owners). The housing spaces, sometimes, are unlikely to be well managed in such manner that may affect living quality. Tenant-landlord might also run into disputes due to lack of mutual communication. 9floor is a co-living operator aiming to solve this tenant-landlord problem by centralizing space management and providing social communities to improve tenants’ living experience. For example, they create comfortable personal and public areas, and organize community events to increase the social opportunities for members, while nourishing social bonds among the members. This living culture seemingly could satisfy the social needs of the younger generation living a stressful urban life. The concept appears to be feasible and appealing, but why did Wanhua 9floor fail?


成本管控的重要性 Importance of Cost Control


成本控制是非常重要的一環。包租代管的角色屬於類似二房東的概念,其最大的利益即是從租客賺取的收益扣除向房東繳納的租金價差。初始成本包含:包租的租金費用及裝潢成本。此次玖樓實際裝修完成金額為2000萬元,明顯超出預算。從成本管控的角度來看確實有改進空間。再來玖樓需每月支付44萬元租金給兆基,因此在12年約期沒有任何空租的情況下,旗下22間房間每間至少需收取20000元租金才有辦法損益兩平。當固定支出龐大,又沒有相應的收入進帳,則就更難支撐企業的營運。中國的蛋殼公寓近期被揭露拖欠房東房租,房東欲收回房子導致租客被趕出的情況。蛋殼公寓在中國13個城市經營超過43萬間公寓,龐大的應付帳款再加上疫情的攪擾,也許就是造成經營困難的原因之一。


Firstly, cost control is vital for co-living operators like 9floor. As a subletting tenant, 9floor’s main margin comes from the gap between the revenue earned from membership fees and the basic rental cost that is payable to the landlords, operation cost, and other upfront costs such as interior fit-out construction. It is quoted that 9floor’s final fit-out cost was something like NTD 20 million, which was far beyond the initial budget. There is definitely room for improvement in the aspect of budget control. According to the article below, 9floor had to pay NTD 440,000 monthly rental fee to C.C. House, which means they will have to have the 22 rooms fully occupied every month for 12 years in order to break-even. High fixed costs without corresponding income make their business increasingly difficult to sustain. DANKE Apartment (“蛋殼公寓”, a subletting firm in China), recently found to be owing rents to their landlords, is another example reflecting co-living operator striving to survive, and the landlords' attempt to reclaim the house forcing the members to be moved out. DANKE Apartment operates more than 430,000 apartments in 13 cities in China. These properties led to a large number of accounts payable, and the Covid-19 Pandemic has made the situation even worse.



另外,租客之間也會產生許多糾紛。雖說玖樓已事先透過面試等方式篩選房客,但由於真正相處的是其他房客們而非玖樓自己,租客之間的爭執是可能發生的。玖樓的共同創辦人潘信榮也曾提到,身為管理者的角色常常需要介入排解租客之間的糾紛,當規模擴大時人力、物力成本便會快速增加。因此,在規劃物件時,更應在事前妥善考量所有軟硬體和人事成本,若計畫實施後做出重大變更將難以進行有效的成本控管。


Furthermore, even though 9floor has carefully selected its members through interviews, there may still be disputes between house members as they live under one roof and face each other on a daily basis. Mr. Pan, the co-founder of 9floor, once mentioned that they had to be responsible for resolving disputes between house members to keep the community running smoothly. However, the costs of time and personnel involved in solving such matter will increase rapidly as the firm expands. Therefore, software, hardware, and personnel costs should be considered thoroughly before carrying out the plan. Major changes after plan execution should be avoided as it may incur more unpredictable cost to adopt such change.



如何運用寶貴的空間也是一門學問。萬華玖樓規劃了空間供日後的商演活動來彌補租金收入。然而因疫情影響,許多活動必須停辦,導致原本預期可增加收入的來源消失,回收資金變得更加困難。除此之外,當一個空間同時提供給住戶和對外活動時,人員進出變得複雜許多,也會增加租客對安全性和隱私的疑慮。因此業主應思考如何妥善規劃公共空間及房間,在不影響租客生活品質的前提下極大化坪效,以增加營運收入來源。


Highly utilized space can be critical to the success of co-living operators. Wanhua 9floor designed their space in a way that is commercially feasible to operate on and generate more income. However, due to the pandemic, many activities have been suspended which makes it difficult to meet its operation cost. In addition, when it comes to personal privacy, the design of living space becomes very important as the fine line can make a big difference to those people concerned with privacy and those enjoying community culture. Therefore, managers should plan the public spaces and rooms properly and optimize space efficiency without affecting tenants’ living quality.


產品定位是否有足夠市場價值 Does it worth the Value?


講到萬華玖樓的失敗,我們最終必須回去釐清此商業模式的潛在問題。若將租屋市場做市場區隔,大致可以分成付租能力高及付租能力低的族群。付租能力高的比如中高階商業人士、外籍外派主管,和年輕專業人士,然而這些族群通常會選擇的是酒店式公寓或是一般酒店。而玖樓當初欲吸引的客群應主要是年輕族群,包括外籍學生、背包客,或是剛出社會的上班族等等,然而這些族群可能相較之下付租能力較低。考量萬華玖樓提供的空間和開出的租金價格,多數人應還是選擇性價比較高的產品居住。小眾的市場定位再加上疫情的攪擾,將更難維持收益。


What are the problems behind 9floor’s business model?

We can divide housing market into several segments: people with higher rent-paying ability and others with lower rent-paying ability. Those who are able to pay higher rents may be white-collar workers, foreign expatriates, and young professionals. However, these groups usually choose service apartments or hotels from what is available on the market. On the other side, the customers 9floor is targeting are mainly young people, including foreign students, backpackers, or new graduates, etc. However, these people may have relatively low rent-paying ability. They would rather prefer lower rent houses than those expensive ones 9floor offers. Hence, this is probably the reason why 9floor has not been able to profit from the market they are targeting; moreover, foreign backpackers and students are not able to stay in Taiwan due to the pandemic. These amounting problems make Wanhua 9floors’ business harder to sustain.



另外,萬華玖樓主打的是提供「社群」的服務,期待房客們能夠在這個居住空間中獲得社交的機會。然而我們要思考的是,社交、互動的價值究竟是由玖樓提供,還是其實是房客之間所創造的呢?真正的互動價值仍是由房客之間彼此創造,而非是玖樓所提供的服務。若房客之間的互動不如理想,失去了社群連結的空間真的只會流於純粹的居住空間,萬華玖樓也就失去了其主打的價值。WeWork旗下的共享公寓品牌WeLive也遭遇到同樣的問題。WeLive初期的願景是希望透過良好規劃的空間提升房客之間的互動關係,改變長租公寓的傳統定義。然而後期WeLive卻開放短租服務,甚至在Airbnb等訂房網站提供日租選項。此作法與當初設想的社群公寓目標背道而馳,也因此沒有被市場接受,營運至今只有兩個據點,與當初的藍圖相差甚遠。


Wanhua 9floor's main goal is to provide "community" service as members get social opportunities in this living space. The question is: how valuable is this sense of community to its members? In fact, it is fair to say that the value of community is created by the members themselves. 9floor can be considered a platform for members to stay connected. If such connections between members do not stay strong, Wanhua 9floor will eventually lose its value. WeLive, another co-living brand owned by WeWork, also encountered the same problem. WeLive originally planned to allow members to mingle with each other easily in their well-designed spaces. However, the space later changed to a short-term rental space that can be found on Airbnb websites. This approach doesn’t seem to be matching with the brand’s value perceived by its potential members. That’s why there have been only two sites so far, which is far from the initial plan they imagined.



反之,房客之間或許互動良好,成為關係很好的朋友。但租客也很有可能群體另尋他處,找尋成本較低的空間群體生活,畢竟社群互動並不是玖樓提供的,而是房客間自己創造的。這對此空間提供者來說會是非常大的致命傷,因為頻繁失去租客將無法提供「社群」,空租的成本也將大大提高。空間提供者要思考的是如何讓這些房客留在自己提供的空間內生活。


Members may get along well and become good friends. In this case, these members are likely to move into a relatively affordable place together and leave 9floor. After all, the community is created by members themselves; 9floor is merely a platform for them to connect. Loss of members leads to high vacancy rate, which takes away bonds among house members, and without enough income, Wanhua 9floor will not be able to run sustainably. Thus, space providers should offer other services apart from community to appeal to their members to stay connected on this platform.



因此回歸問題本身,萬華玖樓的立意良好,此種商業模式也有非常大的發揮空間,但若要長期經營,管理者要思考的是如何建立好的產品獲利模式及產品定位。而這樣的產品定位需要透過共享共居的平台將社群文化發揮出來,讓更多的會員能夠真正彼此連結並感受到品牌的稀有性與不一樣,來擴大品牌的效應以吸引更多新的會員進來。


To conclude, Wanhua 9floor has a great co-living concept and a feasible business vision of future co-living style. In order to have a sustainable business model, it is important to establish a workable business plan with good product positioning strategy. Such strategy must reflect the true community culture that will connect its members through its platform and differentiate itself from other different co-living brands, in order to bring in more new members through expanding its brand reputation.



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