Portal to lure overseas firms to New Zealand ICT

A web portal aimed at boosting exports of New Zealand's 7500 information and communications technology companies is in the pipeline.

A web portal aimed at boosting exports of New Zealand’s 7500 information and communications technology companies is in the pipeline.

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise is teaming up with the ICT sector to develop a “one-stop shop”, due for launch in October.

The portal would act as a database of the industry, similar to the government’s existing “all of government” portal, which details the services of central and local government, and related agencies.

The database of ICT companies and their capabilities will be accompanied by one detailing support services for ICT businesses.

The portal idea came from Wellington’s ICT cluster, the Information Technology Association and the New Zealand Software Association.

It is being jointly funded by NZTE and industry. NZTE is currently collecting data for the portal, which will be run by a new offshoot of the government’s ICT Taskforce called HiGrowth, whose executive director is Catherine Calarco.

Paul Claridge, NZTE sector director for ICT, says the portal will help both domestic and overseas companies find what skills, services and products are available within New Zealand’s 7500 ICT firms, plus our universities and research institutions.

“A big driver behind the portal is getting New Zealand’s exports up. It will provide a good opportunity for people offshore to look at what is on the New Zealand scene,” Claridge says.

ITANZ executive director Jim O’Neill says it is hard at present to satisfy overseas companies wanting to know what ICT skills are available in New Zealand. “It’s got to be good for exports,” O’Neill says.

Last week Canterbury companies were being invited to submit company information to the portal, which will include a link to individual company websites.

James Saruchera, facilitator for the Canterbury Software Cluster, says because New Zealand does not have a readily available central source of information it is easy for overseas firms to bypass the country and opt for better-known sources like China for contracts and supplies.

In June Statistics New Zealand said that ICT hardware exports fell 9.2% in 2002 to $237 million. But the country’s software and services exports rose 36.5% to $486 million.

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