NZ tech sector now worth $23 billion: Stats NZ

NZ tech sector now worth $23 billion: Stats NZ

New Zealand's technology sector is now worth almost $23 billion, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand.

The results of the government agency's Information and Communication Technology Supply Survey: 2012 found the country's high-tech sector grew by $3 billion between 2010 and 2012.

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High-tech exports grew by four percent in the last two years to $1.6 billion. Manufactured technology and equipment made up a third of this figure, while IT design and development accounted for one in five of every ICT export dollar.

Over a third of ICT goods and activity inside of New Zealand (worth $8.3 billion in 2012) comes from telco and broadcasting. Stats NZ says internet retail in New Zealand has grown to over $1.3 billion on the back of an additional 300,000 broadband subscribers nationwide.

Hamish Hill who manages Stats NZ's ICT research says the technology sector's growth is being pushed on by the blurring lines between what is considered a technology business and what is not.

"Overall people consider high technology goods to be much less clear, the boundaries are far less defined than they previously were," he says.

Hill adds that the latest report shows traditional ICT is growing too, "particularly in the telco sector".

Asked if $3 billion growth in the technology sector over two years is a good result for the country, Hill says he's unable to answer.

"The type of information we collect doesn't allow us to make that kind of call. For instance in audio/visual, without collecting both the price and sales activity it's hard to see what's driving the growth. There could be a lot of sales because the prices are low and the manufacturers aren't receiving as much revenue as they would usually. It's not an easy picture to see," he says.

The report says customers delaying their purchase decisions was the biggest barrier to growth for technology companies, with 40 percent of businesses citing it as a challenge. Competition was the second biggest hurdle , while one in four businesses say attracting and retaining skilled staff has been an issue over the past year.