Government to aid New Zealand tech firms in entering global markets

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-10-30 14:02:42

New Zealand's digital technology firms are to get government assistance to grow and compete globally, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said Wednesday.

The government would invest more than NZ$3 million($2. 47 million) over the next three years to take advantage of the opportunity created by the global boom in demand for digital technologies that were "revolutionizing the nature of businesses in all sectors," said Joyce.

"The digital economy contributed over NZ$2 billion  in export earnings last year, and exports of computer and information services have grown at over 10 percent per annum between 2002 and 2012. Almost 75 percent of revenue from the New Zealand's top 100 tech companies comes from international markets," Joyce said in a statement.

"More than 62,000 people are already employed in our wider ICT sector and our investment will help create significant additional export revenues over the next four years."

The Digital Technology High Impact Program would target support to firms working in the areas of software as a service (SAAS), web services, software development, gaming development, post production, animation and mobile technology.

It would specifically support market entry and growth in three high growth areas -- the United States, Korea and Australia -- and assist companies to work together to build scale, and in the longer term to build profile and awareness for New Zealand's digital brand.

A focus on key barriers to growth such as talent shortages would be part of wider government support for the initiative.

Joyce also announced new repayable government grants of up to NZ$450,000  per company would be invested in start-up technology companies.

The repayable grants will be distributed by a private-sector led technology incubator, which would add its own funding to provide at least 25 percent of the start-up company's costs.

Up to four incubators were planned and the total government cost of the scheme was budgeted at NZ$31.3 million over four years.

"Countries like Israel are seeing real success from these sorts of technology incubation programs. Now we're joining them in putting a big emphasis on helping these highly innovative start- ups to get off the ground," said Joyce.

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