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For the first time in TIN Report history, New Zealand’s 200 largest tech exporting companies by revenue – the TIN200 – have broken through the $12 billion mark in total revenue, and $8 billion in export earnings.

This equates to double-digit growth and total growth over a billion dollars for the second consecutive year, and the third time in the past four years, according to the 15th annual Technology Investment Network (TIN) Report, launched recently in Auckland.

The Report also shows that investment in R&D has surpassed $1 billion for the first time, and employment numbers in the tech export sector have exceeded 50,000 staff. 

 “We’re delighted to present these record-breaking findings on the performance of the New Zealand tech companies that are exporting Kiwi innovation to the world,” said Greg Shanahan, founder and managing director of TIN. “Through an overwhelming number of key metrics, our tech export sector is sending a strong message that it has the potential to become our country’s leading source of offshore income. We’re very excited to see the potential that this long-term sustainable growth presents.”

Shanahan also notes that the TIN Next100 list has outpaced the TIN100 in terms of growth rate, a clear sign that the New Zealand tech sector is not only made up of a stable group of large companies driving the sector forward, but is also developing a strong pipeline of emerging new companies beneath them. 

The TIN Report monitors the performance of New Zealand’s top 200 (TIN100 and Next100) largest technology exporters in the areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), High-tech Manufacturing and Biotechnology, approaching almost 1,000 companies for its survey this year. 

The Key Highlights from this year’s Report are:

  • TIN200 companies continue their strong upward trajectory, achieving a consecutive year of $1.1B growth in revenue for the first time.
    Total TIN200 revenue rose to a record $12.1B in 2019, growing by 10.2% or $1.1B.  This is the first time that the TIN200 has achieved two consecutive years of over $1B revenue growth.
  • The strength of ICT firms continues to drive the New Zealand tech sector forward.
    The 95 ICT firms in the TIN200 delivered another impressive year, increasing turnover by $643m or 15.9%.  This accounts for well over half of the TIN200 growth, and this compares favourably to the 7.0% and 6.0% growth rates of the High-tech Manufacturing and Biotech primary sectors respectively.  Fintech remains a key growth sector, after another strong year of 26.9% growth.
  • Over 50,000 staff are now employed globally by the TIN200.
    The group now employs nearly 52,000 staff around the world, of which over half are employed in New Zealand.  These employees are paid over $4B in wages – another historic milestone never before reached by the TIN200.  The average wage for a TIN200 employee is more than $82,000.
  • Traditionally strong export markets continue to drive TIN200 export growth of 11.3%.
    Offshore revenue for the TIN200 reached a record $8.7B on the back of 11.3% export growth. Australia and North America maintain their position as the two largest export markets, both growing by 9.7% to contribute nearly 50% of total TIN revenue. Europe, however, topped in growth rate after an 18.5% revenue rise. 
  • Significant change is seen in the ownership landscape following considerable foreign interest.
    A total of seven TIN200 companies received offshore investment with $326m invested between them. With eight TIN200 companies also acquired by offshore interests, there is a clear shifting dynamic in the TIN200 ownership environment.
  • The Wellington region demonstrates the strongest growth in both dollar and percentage terms.
    While growth was seen in all regions across NZ, Wellington stands out as the fastest growing, increasing sales by $386m or 17.5%. This puts Wellington alongside North Auckland and Otago as the only three regions with double digit 5-year CAGRs, proving they are consistent drivers of overall TIN200 growth.
  • Innovation remains critical for the NZ tech sector.
    R&D continues to be a key focus for TIN200 companies and has reached over $1B for the first time in TIN Report history. This has pushed it above the 10% of revenue mark, with TIN companies allocating 11.1% of revenue toward R&D activities.

Number of TIN Rising Star companies reaches record heights

TIN’s category for consistent high growth companies, the TIN Rising Stars, has reached a record 29 companies. Dominated by the ICT primary sector, this expanding group highlights the increasing depth of impressive tech firms in New Zealand.

TIN celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and Shanahan says the organisation is looking to make an enhanced commitment in 2020 and beyond towards making tech companies an increasing force for good in New Zealand, utilising their talents and robust networks to help address economic disparity and bring about genuine societal change.

“In 20 years’ time, when we are looking back on another two decades of evolution of the New Zealand tech sector, I’m confident that we’ll be able to trace the threads back to the TIN Report of 2019 and see how the successes of today translated into the strong foundations of a tomorrow that brought benefit and prosperity to all,” said Shanahan.

Copies of the 2019 TIN Report can be ordered here.  

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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