Trade New Zealand will establish its next beachhead in Palo Alto in the US to help New Zealand ICT companies get a foot in the door.
Trade New Zealand's beachhead programme was launched just under a year ago by the Prime Minister Helen Clark and is designed to help New Zealand companies break into specific markets. The first such venture was the technology centre in Singapore opened in September.
Trade New Zealand's team manager for technology and services, Adrian Dixon, says the project helps companies spread the cost of establishing a presence in the market.
"In Fort Lauderdale with our marine sector beachhead we set up an office with a business development manager and we pay half the costs with the companies paying for the other half."
The cost of establishing an office and hiring an experienced business manager for that market is partly funded by Trade New Zealand for one year in accordance with World Trade Organisation guidelines.
Palo Alto is at the heart of Silicon Valley and should enable New Zealand ICT exporters to get an otherwise expensive foot in the door to the US market. Trade New Zealand figures show that setting up an overseas office is a costly business. The average annual cost of a typical office in Trafalgar Square in London runs to $280,000 while US costs can reach the $1 million mark.
A slightly different model is being applied to the UK market.
"We've found that in the UK market we need to combine several sectors into one, so we're looking at ICT, engineering, consumer products and food and beverages."
Dixon says the mix is a unique one and Trade New Zealand will be working with those companies intending on breaking into the UK market to work out what will work best for them.
"We're not trying to railroad them into anything they don't want to do."
Meanwhile Trade New Zealand's latest online venture, Market New Zealand, already has over 100 New Zealand-based IT companies on its books.
Market New Zealand is designed to allow potential offshore customers to find out about New Zealand companies and their products. While the site has only gone live this week, it has been trialled for over four months and has seen 600 genuine inquiries passed on to New Zealand exporters.