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New Zealand’s technology sector has broken through the $7 billion mark for the first time, according to the NBR.

The annual TIN (Technology Investment Network) 100 list, sponsored by Industrial Research, NZ Trade & Enterprise and the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI), found total revenue of $7.014 billion for our 100 largest tech companies for year ending June 30, 2011 – a 5% increase over 2010’s $6.7 billion.

Of that $7 billion total, $5.103 billion was generated in export receipts – a 2% increase over 2010’s $4.9 billion.

That means TIN 100 companies in software, information technology (IT) services and high-tech manufacturing are now generating as much export revenue as meat (also around $5 billion) and not as far as you think behind the diary industry traditionally thought of as our mainstay (around $11 billion).

It also means more jobs. TIN100 publisher Greg Shanahan said the number employed in the tech sector, and high tech manufacturing, has grown from 24,000 in 2010 to 30,000 this year.

Some of the big names TIN100’s Top 10 by revenue have had a flat year – especially those in manufacturing ((F&P Healthcare, F&P Appliances, Tait, Temperzone, Moffat, NDA).

But new names are surging. Healthcare software company Orion Health (which recently bought a Microsoft business unit in the sector, picking up 50 employees to its 500-odd in the process) grew revenue by a third to $91 million.

The company – now New Zealand’s largest employer of software developers, with around 470 staff in total – has won a string of US deals on the back of Obama’s healthcare reforms and associated stimulus spending. Orion boss Ian McCrae recently told NBR he expects sales of $120 million to $140 million in the current year.

GPS crystal maker Rakon, which made investments in the US and opened a new manufacturing centre in China, increased revenue to $189 million from 2010’s $144 million, and returned to profit.

Datacom owned by NBR Rich Lister John Holdsworth, topped the fastest growing list for the second year in a row. The Wellington-based IT services company – which recently landed a data centre contract with the government (along with Revera) saw net profit fall 25% to $22.3 million, but revenue climb from $667 million to $725 million on strong Australian sales.

Tru-Test which (like fellow TIN 100 contender Gallagher Group) makes electric fencing and other high-tech products to keep livestock in check, was a new-entrant on the fastest-growing list this year.

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