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China’s No. 2 smartphone brand >Vivo Mobile Communications Co. has broken ground on a high-rise office in Shenzhen to house its future headquarters, highlighting a construction boom from the country’s burgeoning tech sector.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, the gadget maker’s 32-story abode will house 5,800 workers and was designed by >NBBJ, the architects behind Samsung’s Silicon Valley campus and Seattle’s Amazon Spheres. The new building will feature Vivo’s flagship store, indoor gardens at every level and a spiraling exterior with self-shading glass, according to the architectural firm.
Vivo joins the likes of >Tencent Holdings Ltd. and >ByteDance Ltd. in spending big on new office space -- much of it in the bustling tech hub of Shenzhen -- adding to a mega-building splurge at a time when economic turmoil is forcing other businesses to cut back. WeChat operator Tencent is building an adjacent campus roughly the size of midtown Manhattan on reclaimed land in Qianhai Bay that cost the company >$1.2 billion. Vivo paid >1.3 billion yuan ($182 million) for the site of its new headquarters and TikTok owner ByteDance recently spent 1.1 billion yuan for land in the city’s downtown area, according to the local land authority.
Kuaishou, a YouTube-like video platform backed by Tencent, is spending 3 billion yuan on a base for its fledgling e-commerce business in Chengdu, complete with studios for live-streamers hawking wares.
Some economists say building booms signal an overheated economy that precedes a crash. But NBBJ, which also designed campuses for Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate Ant Group, argues China’s tech giants have outgrown their old digs and are now merely seeking space to anchor a potential wave of future global expansion.
Vivo, which began life in the midst of Android’s rise a decade ago, has steadily grown into a leader at home and across Asia and Europe, alongside compatriots Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp. Its development encapsulates the way Chinese names have started making waves abroad.