Dwellworks Living Global Corporate Housing Solutions - Shanghai River

Dwellworks Living in China | A Unique Business Model

Everything you need to know about our expansion strategy in the Asia Pacific region

For more than 15 years, Dwellworks and its legacy brands have delivered market-leading destination services in over 20 distinct locations in China, including secondary and tertiary cities, through an established on-the-ground network and a tailored customer service model. In 2018, we were able to present Corporate Housing companies with both inventory and match-lease solutions for the first time. More recently, with the launch of our Dwellworks Living corporate housing solutions platform, we have continued to expand our capabilities in China and offer support to clients interested in growing their business in the Asia Pacific region. With our unique services and operational assets, we can offer both excellence and expertise in local markets and potential cost and tax savings for corporate clients.


Recognizing specific business needs

Eager to assist our global relocation management and travel management partners and the clients they serve, we analyzed which markets represented the biggest challenges for them. Our research confirmed that for many of our clients China is a growing, coveted, and complex market. China is the world’s second-largest economy — but the serviced apartment market on the ground is still in its early days. As China continues to grow, with an expected 9% GDP rate in the Covid-19 bounce-back year of 2021, so will the serviced apartment/temporary housing market.

Typically, a corporate client searching for a hotel alternative in China will default to internationally branded serviced apartments or apart-hotels. Historically, the choices have been predictable and limited, even in markets as big as Beijing and Shanghai, much less in lower-volume second and third-tier locations. Housing solutions operators who did not have feet on the ground in China were typically not able to source alternative solutions and if they were, they were faced with complex booking processes, including landlords often not able or willing to accept payments from outside of China.


The birth of a unique solution

An essential part of Dwellworks plan to offer a unique solution was to establish a new legal entity. With multiple years’ experience on the ground in China, we were able to patiently and compliantly work our way through administrative and documentation requirements, resulting in 2019 in the approval of a full real estate and property management license as a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE). Amongst the advantages of the WFOE license, we gained the ability to bill in international and local currencies along with the capability to issue Special Fapiaos.

Fapiao is the Mandarin word for an invoice, and they are produced by a regulated invoice-issuing system. A Regular Fapiao can deduct an expense against revenue while a Special Fapiao can post expenses against revenue and the Value-Added Tax (VAT). Without a Fapiao in a transaction, the expense does not exist from a taxing perspective and therefore, the expense cannot be recognized as an expense against a Chinese entity’s revenue.

Having the ability to issue a Fapiao meant our Corporate Housing partners could place their bookings through us and invoice companies in China directly to receive sought after tax-break benefits. Altogether, this model has been proven to allow some companies to achieve total tax savings of up to 30 percent of their Corporate Housing costs — making the product extremely appealing to firms operating in China.

Dwellworks Living is a global provider of solutions, matching client needs with superior supplier offerings on a global scale; we also recognize that clients may have a need for bespoke or matched-lease solutions if supplier inventory does not have the exact offering the client is looking for. This is where our real estate experience and destination services expertise makes the difference. Leveraging years of market research and landlord negotiation experience for long-term rentals, Dwellworks Living sources private landlord solutions, in China, Hong Kong, and around the world, to supplement the core offerings of our global supply chain. In China, this capability offers the dual benefits of unique choices and tax savings for the corporate client.


Expanding our capabilities in Asia Pacific

We have an offering with a wide range of local serviced apartments on a matched-lease basis in over 25 cities in China and Hong Kong. These serviced properties are locally owned and managed by local professional hospitality brands, offering great value and outstanding service for our clients. These much-sought-after properties are not marketed internationally and are often only accessible through trusted relationships developed between local owners and their local-language speaking Dwellworks agents and destination services consultants.

At present over 50 percent of our property mix is made up of these local brands offering clients convenient access to properties previously unknown and inaccessible to them.


An epic™ investment

Our business is focused on supporting the housing and related support services needs of the globally mobile workforce. The foundation has been destination services, with its focus on understanding the expectations and requirements of employees on global assignments: learning the culture, understanding how to thrive in daily work and private life in a new country, and, most importantly, finding a place to live at a reasonable cost, with a reasonable commute, accessibility to international schools, and with appropriate amenities for a long-term stay in a host country. Along the way, much has changed. Instead of executive moves, long term assignments, and ‘expat lifestyles,’ global business is now built around frequent business travel (which will come back after Covid-19 is controlled) and shorter-term assignments. Families may choose not to move at all, and thus the global traveler is working more on a project-focused, temporary basis but still with the need for safe, secure, comfortable, and affordable housing. This changing dynamic in global workforce mobility, plus the business value of a WFOE license and capability to issue fapiaos, pivoted us more towards corporate housing solutions that leveraged our destination services heritage.

In 2020, Dwellworks acquired the epic™ platform from Oakwood. This sourcing and services software enables us to streamline and simplify temporary housing program management on a global scale. Clients needing housing in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore… as well as London, Chicago, Mexico City and Dubai, and hundreds of other locations worldwide, can coordinate all those searches through the epic™ platform, with Dwellworks Living as a global partner. As in China, so too around the world. Our local experts can source unique private landlord listings, based on years of market experience, and they can enrich even a short-term assignment with expert local orientation, settling in, and cultural adaptation services. Should a client choose to extend their employee’s assignment, Dwellworks Living can source long term rental accommodations and even assist with a home purchase.

As we learned in pairing a WFOE and fapiao capability with our core destination services, there is ample opportunity in the fast-growing China relocation and business travel services market to innovate and differentiate with creative solutions, provided the investments are made in research, compliance, systems, and people.


Dwellworks Living: Global Solutions for Corporate Accommodations 

Dwellworks Living is committed to providing our clients and their employees with the best possible corporate housing and serviced accommodations experience. With a global network of property partners, a tri-regional team of customer experience and supply chain professionals, and a wide range of services for global mobility and travel customers, Dwellworks Living can provide the perfect corporate housing solution for any need or budget.

Dwellworks Living is the global corporate housing solution of Dwellworks, an award-winning, business-to-business provider of global mobility and business travel services. As a global leader in corporate housing and serviced accommodations solutions, Dwellworks Living is uniquely positioned to meet the temporary living needs of businesses and their employees who are relocating or traveling on short-, medium- or extended-stays. With 60,000 high-quality professionally managed properties in over 125 countries worldwide, Dwellworks Living is the preferred housing solutions partner of many Fortune 1000 and leading relocation management companies.

Dwellworks Living's corporate housing and serviced accommodations solutions are designed to help businesses attract and retain top talent, support employee productivity, and ensure a smooth and successful relocation or business travel experience. In addition to our core global accommodations management services, Dwellworks Living, through our worldwide network of local experts, is uniquely capable of offering our clients expanded and related services, such as area orientations, group move assistance, destination services and intercultural training.

Whether you have corporate housing needs for an individual employee or a large team, Dwellworks Living can provide the serviced accommodations solutions you need anywhere in the world to ensure a safe and successful stay. Please contact us to learn more or visit our Properties page to begin your search for global corporate housing accommodations.

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