1 Nov 2019

Top NZ tech firms' revenue jumps to $12 billion

10:43 am on 1 November 2019

The technology sector has had record earnings growth and established itself as one of the economy's top export earners according to the latest report by the Technology Investment Network.

Developing programming and coding technologies, website design and cyber space concept.

Photo: 123rf

The 2019 TIN Report has shown the top 200 tech companies (TIN200) had record 10 percent revenue growth, rising by $1.1 billion to $12.1b.

A record 51 companies had revenues of more than $50 million.

"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 TIN founder and managing director Greg Shanahan.

Profitability of the TIN200 companies continued to rise faster than revenue, with earnings for information and technology firms, which made up about half of the TIN200, up 15.9 percent.

Datacom signage

The top tech companies include Datacom, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Fisher and Paykel Appliances, Xero, and Weta Digital. Photo: RNZ / Calvin Samuel

High-tech manufacturing grew 7 percent, biotech at 6 percent, and Fintech delivering the fastest growth at 26.9 percent.

The report says the top 200 companies employed more than 50,000 people around the world, with more than half of the staff based in New Zealand.

The companies' export earnings rose 11.3 percent to a record $8.7b, primarily to Australia and North America. On that basis the sector is the third biggest export earner behind dairy and tourism, and just ahead of meat.

"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," Mr Shanahan said.

The top tech companies include Datacom, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Fisher and Paykel Appliances, Xero, and Weta Digital.

The report said there was a strong pipeline of emerging companies, generating growth at both ends of the top-200 list.

Seven TIN200 companies received overseas investment, with a total $326m invested, including $206m raised by Rocket Lab.

The report says the Wellington region had the strongest growth in dollar and percentage terms, with sales rising 17.5 percent, but North Auckland and Otago have also had double-digit growth over the past five years.

Mr Shanahan said there was untapped potential for other regions to get involved and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the tech sector.

Tech companies on average spent about 11 percent of revenue on research and development, which reached more than $1b for the first time.