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Currently, I am working on NZTech’s annual report for our AGM in August. One of the highlights for me is reviewing the ever growing tech sector numbers.
In 2019, there were 537 new tech companies created, mainly small, new software companies, reporting a growth of three percent, to 21,870 tech firms in New Zealand. Some of these small companies may one day grow up to be one of our major exporters. According to last year’s TIN report, analysing our tech exporters, the 200 largest tech exporters had a combined revenue of $12.1 billion, up 10 percent from 2018.
By the end of 2019, there were 114,450 people employed in New Zealand within the tech sector, just over five percent of the entire workforce. In the past year 2,400 new jobs were created and for the past 10 years the sector has been creating 2,000 new jobs a year on average. Not only does the sector create jobs in New Zealand, the top 200 exporters grew their teams by 7.9 percent, creating 3,761 jobs globally.
As we weather the COVID-19 storm, it is encouraging to see New Zealand tech firms growing and recruiting as other sectors are forced to contract. Since January this year, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare has added 600 new jobs in New Zealand alone.
Another great tech sector news story is that the new jobs are being created throughout New Zealand. There were 28 new tech sector jobs created in Northland in 2019, 212 in Waikato, 95 in the Bay of Plenty, 113 in Canterbury and 21 in Otago, as well as growth in other regions.
Exports also grew strongly, by 5.4 percent in 2019 to reach $7.4 billion. This is an extraordinary number given our top 200 tech exporters often have offshore offices and factories, that don’t appear in the export numbers. For example, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare manufacture some of their product in Mexico and ship directly to the United States of America. While this is not considered exporting, it is still great business as the profits flow back to New Zealand. The top 200 exporters generated $8.7 billion in overseas sales in 2019, up 11.3 percent from 2018.
To paraphrase the late Sir Paul Callaghan, hundreds of inspired New Zealand entrepreneurs are turning this country around. Whether it is agritech to help New Zealand produce more food for the world, biotech to improve our health and environmental outcomes or simply great digital ideas to solve big problems, kiwi tech and ingenuity is helping New Zealand prosper now and into the future.
I hope you have a productive week and please remember that NZTech board nominations close on Thursday.
PS: It’s not too late to submit an event for Techweek2020, please apply by 17 July.
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