Growth of New Zealand's ICT industry falls sharply

Sales from New Zealand's information and communication technology industry increased 3.3% to NZ$18.2 billion (US$14.3 billion) in the 2007 financial year, Statistics New Zealand says, a growth-rate well down on the previous year.

Growth in the 2006 year was 7.9%, according to the "Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Supply Survey: 2006/07" released Thursday.

Exports of ICT goods and services decreased 5.3% to NZ$1.5 billion, while domestic sales increased 4.2% to NZ$16.7 billion.

Electronic devices and equipment remained the leading exported ICT products with NZ$304 million in sales, despite decreasing by NZ$219 million. Electronic components were the second largest ICT export, with sales of NZ$268 million, Statistics NZ says.

Telecommunication and program distribution services remain the dominant ICT commodity both within total sales (32.3%) and domestic sales (35%). 93.9% of sales in the category were dominated by large firms.

The ICT industry is also estimated to have 2,181 businesses with two or more employees.

Of businesses reporting ICT sales for the 2007 financial year, strength of competition was the most frequent barrier to growth (reported by 27.8%), closely followed by the ability to attract or retain experienced staff (27.5%), and the ability to attract or retain qualified staff (26.3%).

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