Government brings in Taiwanese investors

The visit to New Zealand by representatives of a Taiwanese software investment fund last week is one of the first of nine government-funded trips by international firms looking at investing in New Zealand's high-tech industries. The Trade New Zealand-funded Special Investment Programme, sometimes referred to as the 'red carpet programme', got underway in January.

The visit to New Zealand by representatives of a Taiwanese software investment fund last week is one of the first of nine government-funded trips by international firms looking at investing in New Zealand's high-tech industries.

The Special Investment Programme, sometimes referred to as the "red carpet programme", is funded through Trade New Zealand.

The programme, which got underway in January, focuses on bringing potential investors to investigate local tele-communications, software, biotechnology and electronics companies.

Programme chief manager Chris Gorton says while investment promotion has been done before, this is the first time there has been discrete funding to bring potential investors here. Four parties are coming over the next month and five more visits are being finalised.

Gorton won't give details about the visitors, but confirmed that one of the first four is from a software investment fund in Taiwan, owned by the biggest computer manufacturer in Taiwan. He says there are further high-tech opportunities being worked on.

"It's more in the field of software in particular and we're working on a big, big, big telecommunications one."

Gorton says the programme is concentrating on investment that will help expand the existing industry base.

That will usually mean investment via a joint venture, but in some cases, it will mean establishing new businesses.

The programme has a budget of $1.3 million, with $300,000 used to produce a CD-ROMs and "high-class" promotional material on New Zealand as an investor destination.

While no country is excluded when looking for investors, Gorton expects 65% of the programme will come from the US.

Other areas being targeted are Britain and Europe, Australia, and selected parts of Asia, including Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Gorton says New Zealand can make much use of its foreign affairs, trade and travel posts, which are involved in the programme and which nominate candidates.

He says the programme is seeing the greatest success when it builds on work done earlier - by the offshore posts - on identifying investors.

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