WS Hamilton City CBD and Waikato River
INNOVATION HUB: Hamilton is contributing significantly to helping New Zealand’s technology sector grow bigger than the dairy sector in three to five years.

Hamilton is contributing significantly to helping New Zealand’s technology sector grow bigger than the dairy sector in three to five years.

The prediction of an explosion of growth in technology exports comes from Technology Investment Network managing director Greg Shanahan in the wake of the TIN 2019 report which detailed a record year for the New Zealand technology sector.

"The gap between TIN200 companies and tourism has closed by about $1 billion [in 2019] and we think that technology will become New Zealand's largest export sector in three to five years time," Shanahan told the New Zealand Herald.

The TIN Report monitors the performance of New Zealand’s top 200 largest technology exporters in the areas of approaching almost 1,000 companies for its survey this year. The report includes information and communication technology, high-tech manufacturing and biotechnology businesses in its definition of technology businesses.

The report is indicative of a much larger technology sector with many more players than it takes into consideration. So the numbers would be much bigger if the revenue of smaller technology companies with a combination of Silicon Valley savvy and a Kiwi can-do attitude were taken into consideration.

Small technology specialists play a huge part in supporting the bigger companies, providing skills and services that enable them to stay at the tops of their games.

Total revenue for TIN200 technology companies grew by $1.1 billion to $12.1 billion, of which $8.7 billion was export revenue, the TIN Report found.

The two largest export markets continued to be Australia and North America, both growing by 9.7% to contribute nearly 50% of total revenue. Europe topped in growth rate after an 18.5% revenue rise.

The TIN200 employed 51,569 full-time staff around the world in 2019, or an average of 257 full-time staff each.

Their combined research and development spend reached more than $1 billion for the first time.

The 95 ICT firms in the TIN200 increased turnover by $643m or 15.9%. This accounts for more than half of the growth and compares favourably to 7% and 6% growth rates of the high-tech manufacturing and biotech primary sectors.

The revenue of Hamilton’s technology sector grew by more than $60 million, or 7.1 per cent, over the last year to $913 million, the TIN 2019 report found. Not bad for a city of around 200,000 people.

Revenue from Hamilton’s technology businesses was $854 million in 2018.

Hamilton’s technology sector created 124 new jobs in the city in the past year, growing the sector’s employment offering by 4.2 per cent.

Hamilton’s compound annual growth rate was 6.9 per cent over five years.

Hamilton has 7.5 per cent of New Zealand’s technology market share, up from 6.1 per cent in 2017.

Hamilton has two of the report’s top 10 technology export earners. The Gallagher Group and Livestock Improvement Corporation are number five and six on the list. Ahead of them are the Datacom Group, at the top of the list, Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Xero. Behind them are Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Temperzone Group, Scott Technology and Weta Digital.

  • David Hallett is a co-founder and director of Hamilton software specialist Company-X.