Posted on 27th of February, 2019

The Global Investment Summit: Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong

February has been a busy month for the future of living: Three events were scheduled throughout Asia to connect student-housing operators with global investors. SALTO’s Asia Pacific teams visited The Global Investment Summit organized by The Class of 2020 in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The Class of 2020 is Europe’s leading platform for all topics related to student living. This exclusive event series called ‘The Global Investment Summit’ was organized in multiple metropolises around the world like Dubai, Sydney, Melbourne and New York City.

During the Global Investment Summits industry leaders, investors, wealth funds and other stakeholders get to network, explore the most important trends in student housing and coliving and overall help shape the future of this emerging market. For cities to be economically successful it’s important to be able to host intelligent students that develop a personal connection with the city, which makes them want to stay. The knowledge shared while networking during the summit is meant to eventually propel student housing to the next level.

Now, read what we’ve learned about student accommodation and coliving on a global scale!

“Bite-sized, personalized learning is a key driver to attract international students into Singapore” - John Fong, CEO and Head of Campus at SP Jain School of Global Management, Summit Singapore


The Global Investment Summit kicked-off in Singapore: The dynamic city full of student housing potential. In Singapore Purpose Built Student Accommodation is provided by the universities versus the UK where PBSA usually is part of private real estate. More capital is injected into the market space; this results in product optimization and operational excellence. With such a big demand for coliving, hybrids are popping up. It’s important to understand the difference between PBSA, co-living, serviced apartments and hospitality. Operators are in search of amenities like gyms and libraries to create the perfect member experience for young professionals. Because of the strict housing policies in Singapore, it can be challenging to offer flexible housing options that can accommodate short stays or attract and retain talent.

"Now that about 70% of students are booking accommodation online, a strong online presence is vital” - Director of Partnerships at The Student Hotel, Summit Shanghai


Real estate in Shanghai is tremendously high in demand due to its international community. In China, the student housing market is relatively slow in growing. This is because of the traditional way of renting a house, which can be a difficult task when you don't understand Chinese, which a lot of foreign students don't. Because small spaces are in abundance in Shanghai space operators see this as an opportunity to change the way of living entirely. Because almost all the students are looking for accommodation online it's important to have a strong online presence. All technologies that safeguard a great member experience starting off with onboarding are very much applauded. Cognition through partnerships with universities or local businesses and events help attract the targeted audience and enables operators to focus on their main product. Students tend to develop personal relationships within their accommodations, which make them want to renew their contracts. This makes investing in Shanghai PBSA very interesting.

“Co-living isn’t about communal living, it’s about collaborative living” - Sachin Doshi founder and CEO of Weave Co-living, Summit Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is rich, but also very concentrated in population. Hong Kong is trying to maintain that high quality of life and therefore have a high need for living solutions. There’s still a blurred line between coliving, serviced apartments and living spaces. What differentiates them is the cost and length of the stay. Young digital nomads have three main demands for their accommodation: Community, flexibility and technology. Operators are using their social media channels to show in what ways they can accommodate these demands. Smart design concepts are embraced to make efficient use of the small spaces in this urban city. By gathering local data like space accupancy the needs of students can be mapped so the student experience can be optimized.

One of the biggest challenges remains growing your business when you want to own the property. This is the reason investors are investigating other options in countries like Japan and India.

Continue reading about The Class of 2020 in Milan, Italy here or discover what the 5 trends in student housing are.


SALTO KS provides a flexible access control management system that requires no software installation or the added expense of a fully-wired electronic product. Modern cloud-based, wireless access control system is easy and simple to use for businesses including Coworking Spaces, Coliving Buildings, Purpose Built Student Accommodation, Retail, Multi-Tenant Housing, Gyms and many more. Our best in class wireless access control solution and smart locks guarantee the efficiency for your business. Integrate smart locks, start easily managing wireless access control now!

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