New Zealand's top 200 technology companies generated $10 billion of annual sales for the first time with more than $7.3 billion coming from exports, according to the 2017 TIN100 report.
"It's not just a number but a marker that indicates that our technology exporters are well and truly entrenched as a critical part of New Zealand's economic growth," said TIN managing director Greg Shanahan.
Revenues rose 7.9 percent while exports jumped 8.5 percent. The lift was mainly driven by exports to the US rising almost 19 percent to more than $2.4 billion. ICT firms achieved the highest growth in North America, increasing revenues by 48 percent. Biotech also experienced a strong growth rate of 29 percent. Sales to Europe were up 3.1 percent, weighed on by the stronger euro, while sales to Asia grew 5.3 percent.
The sector is now the country's third largest export earner, behind dairy and tourism, according to the Technology Investment Network (TIN) which monitors the performance of New Zealand's 200 largest technology firms in information and communication technology, high-tech manufacturing, and biotechnology. It generates around 10 percent of New Zealand's exports and created 4,352 more new jobs in the year, despite some cost-cutting measures. The firms now employ a total of 43,437 full-time staff, or about 1.8 percent of the workforce, paying average salary just below $84,000.
Companies with revenue of more than $20 million grew at twice the rate of companies below $20 million. The 90 companies with revenues of $20 million and above lifted sales 8.4 percent, compared to just 3.8 percent for the 110 companies with less than $20 million, it said. Larger companies benefited from greater access to investment and bigger balance sheets let them maintain aggressive growth strategies, weather adverse currency shifts, and undertake successful mergers and acquisitions, it said.
Wellington-based Datacom replaced Fisher & Paykel Appliances to take this year's number one TIN ranking for the first time with revenue of $1.6 billion. F&P Appliances generated $1.15 billion, it said. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was third, with revenues of $894 million.
Looking ahead, TIN asked chief executives to outline the key challenges for the next year. The most prevalent challenge is the ability to recruit and retain quality, skilled staff to satisfy ongoing demand growth, TIN said.
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