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Kiwi tech sector grows, boosted by game development and local IT companies

The Kiwi tech sector is experiencing continued growth, with the likes of game development and local IT companies directly driving this trend, according to a new statement from NZTech.

NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says, New Zealand game developers’ $323.9 million earnings in the last financial year is a perfect example of just what is happening across the rampant tech sector.

According to Muller, it is ‘fantastic’ to see the continued growth of New Zealand’s interactive media and game developers, making $121 million more in one year.

However, the growth for game developers is a reflection of a larger trend in New Zealand’s tech sector, even during a turbulent year due to COVID-19.

He says, “This is a great example of the continued growth and success of the whole Kiwi tech industry.

"New Zealand tech firms have been incredibly resilient as COVID-19 impacted most sectors across the economy this year.

“We are seeing sectors like the game developers growing exports at exponential rates, local IT companies working through the night helping other sectors rapidly become more digital and a new wave of high growth companies raising funds to expand globally.”

Muller highlighted two such Kiwi tech companies that are making tracks in the sector.

He says, “In the past couple of weeks, we have seen two great New Zealand tech firms each raise more than $20 million dollars to support their continued development.

“Mint Innovation has worked out how to use biotech to extract gold from old electronics and have raised $20 million to build gold biorefineries.

“Sharesies raised $20 million to support global expansion for their app which allows everyday Kiwis to trade shares no matter how much money they have."

Despite the positive growth, Muller says the sector still needs support.

He says, “However, just like the survey from the game developers, most tech firms are being constrained at the moment as they struggle to get highly skilled specialist into their rapidly expanding teams.”

He says, “NZTech has asked cabinet ministers to urgently consider allowing more rapid entry of targeted candidates with these critical advanced digital skills.”

NZTech revealed key statistics around these statements. According to the company, interactive game developer studios are spread around the country, with 40% in Auckland, 26% in Wellington, 14% in Otago, 10% in Canterbury and 5% in Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Muller sees technology as a major COVID-proof economic contributor. In 2019, the tech sector employed 114,000 people, making it the country’s third largest export and contributor of 8% of GDP.

The country’s 200 largest tech exporters in 2019 generated overseas sales of $9.4 billion with annual sales growing at 8.3% to $12.7 billion.