Published: 10:25, April 10, 2021 | Updated: 19:50, June 4, 2023
Shared study rooms prove popular across nation
By Xin Wen

People study at a shared study room in Qingzhou, Shandong province, on July 15. (WANG JILIN / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Paid study rooms are gaining popularity in China as people take steps to adapt themselves to the changes brought by the coronavirus.

Ni Chenyang, 29, who works for a credit management company in Beijing, likes to study after work. In February, during this year's Spring Festival holiday, Ni used a shared study room near the Central Business District in Beijing. Since then, he has occasionally gone to similar rooms for reading and study.

"At a small desk in the dim light, I found I was more devoted," he said. "In a little corner, I could find myself more able to deal with my sense of worry and being adrift in the metropolis."

Ni has spent most of his days since the outbreak of the pandemic in the apartment he shares with a roommate in Beijing. As soon as the pandemic situation allowed, he went out for study, exercise and eating much more often.

"In my daily life, I have a lot of pressure to deal with. Work is part of it," he said. "Improving my own competitiveness comes with higher requirements now. In the hustle and bustle of the big city, so the shared study space is a good choice."

Shared study rooms are relative newcomers to the sharing economy, first appearing mainly in first-tier cities.

A search for paid study rooms in Beijing on Dazhong Dianping, China's Yelp-like review platform, produced results for more than 160 study rooms, 71 of which have opened since September

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Last year, the business saw a boom period.

A search for paid study rooms in Beijing on Dazhong Dianping, China's Yelp-like review platform, produced results for more than 160 study rooms, 71 of which have opened since September.

Liu Kangcan, founder of the Studying Together Space in Shanghai, estimated that China now has about 15,000 paid study rooms nationwide.

"In 2020, a few thousand shared study rooms were added, scattered across the major cities," Liu said. "In cities such as Shenyang, Liaoning province, and Xi'an, Shaanxi province, more than 100 paid study rooms opened in 2020. Some second-and third-tier cities also have 50 to 60 rooms."

Remote learning during the pandemic has contributed to the surge, business insiders said.

"Students' learning efficiency at home is not easy to guarantee, and the demand for such rooms shot up in last two quarters of 2020," Liu said.

The relatively low startup costs have also encouraged many entrepreneurs to flock to the market. The initial investment for a shared study room averages between 200,000 and 300,000 yuan (US$30,500 to US$45,700), Liu said.

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Zhao Peng, 39, a Beijing native, opened his shared study room in December in downtown Beijing, where embassies and foreign-funded enterprises can be found.

After decorating the space and buying a few tables and chairs, Zhao opened it in December.

Since then, his Yuncheng Space has maintained a daily occupancy rate of around 70 to 80 percent on weekdays, and it's nearing full capacity most weekends.

"In just a few months, it's almost breaking even," Zhao said.

Li Yunqiao, co-founder of the Humble Study Room in Beijing's Dongcheng district, said the paid room he operates is essentially a shared leased space.

"We entrepreneurs rented a part of the property and cleaned it up, and then rented out the space to customers. So it's an industry with a low entry threshold," he said.

Leng Chuanshi, a strategic asset allocation analyst for a public offering fund in Beijing, said the development of the business is still in its early stages in China.

"Overall, the sector has a low entry barrier," Leng said. "Business models that include training services and which organize activities are supposed to add value to the sector and give it a boost."

Zhou Jiaxin contributed to this story.