Ernst & Young is to enter a region-wide partnership with the Auckland-based Web development company WebMedia.
For E&Y, the move is in line with the trend for the big professional services firms to either acquire or ally with Internet services companies. For WebMedia, it adds another element to the company's rapid - and largely unheralded - expansion in recent months.
Last week WebMedia signed off a deal which will see the Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Techpacific.com pay $2 million for a 10% stake in WebMedia.
The relationship with Techpacific, which began late last year, has also begun to feed through work - including a $4.5 million job building the Asian e-commerce pop music portal, Gogo.com, to launch later this year.
WebMedia has also recently established offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, and a recruitment-oriented base in California.
"WebMedia has begun a new phase of international expansion, especially into Asian markets," says director Glenn Harding. "Our creative and strategic expertise has already opened doors for us, and this new partnership with E&Y allows us to confidently deliver an even broader range of solutions.
"At WebMedia we've generally taken a cautious approach to partnering and outsourcing, but Ernst & Young's understanding of the market and of what our business is about have convinced us that they're a good fit for our vision."
Ernst and Young partner Alan Sinclair says his company, which employs more than 800 people in New Zealand, is "excited at the prospect of combining our integration, build and operate capabilities with the creative talents of a growing Asia Pacific new media company.
"Our combined, complimentary skill sets offer our New Zealand and regional clients a unique source of innovative ideas, backed up by rapid and robust delivery."
The companies say they will work together on both consumer and business-to-business e-commerce initiatives in New Zealand and the wider Asia Pacific region. The management of the two companies is currently discussing the final details of the relationship.