Motorola insists the research and development laboratory which Christchurch lost to Perth is on schedule for its projected eventual staff of several hundred.
That’s despite only about 25 researchers being employed there to date and the building to eventually house the unit not being complete.
Sydney-based Motorola spokesman Russell Grimmer says the position does not represent a falling behind on its schedule.
“We have contractual commitments with the government and we’re in step with those,” he says. “There have been some scurrilous rumours coming out of New Zealand that we’re behind, but that’s not so.”
Christchurch was considered as a possible site for the R&D facility and there was some dismay in government and IT circles when the decision was made to go to Australia.
Paul Batchelor, sales manager of network equipment manufacturer Allied Telesyn, unfavourably compares Motorola’s low staff numbers with his company’s own successful R&D facility in Christchurch.
Though going for a good few years more than the two-year-old Motorola establishment, Allied Telesyn’s facility has hit a high-growth period. The second building in its Christchurch facility has been completed, “and we may start a [third] one in the new year”, he says. Staff numbers in Christchurch are around 200 and set to rise to 300 if another building goes ahead.
Allied Telesyn’s main market in New Zealand is in level 3 switches, says Batchelor. He claims the firm is taking business off better-known industry suppliers 3Com and Cisco.
Recent sales figures from Allied Telesyn internationally show growth of 20% in revenue and a massive 800% in profit, Batchelor says. The New Zealand operation is not far behind, he says, though naturally on a much smaller absolute scale. The large profit increase comes from the move into much more expensive and powerful higher-level switches.
Research in Christchurch is moving up in networking complexity, the centre developing level 3 and level 4 switches.