16 Jul 2013 07:54

WELLINGTON, July 16 (Bernama) -- New Zealand is on the way to becoming a net exporter of computer and information services, according to an in-depth government report on the country's information and communications technology sector (ICT) published Tuesday.

Exports of computer and information services showed a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent from 2006 to 2012, which was three percent higher than the growth in imports, said the ICT Report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

"If this trend continues New Zealand will become a net exporter of computer services in the next few years," China's Xinhua news agency said, quoting the report.

"Australia and North America are the major markets and have driven growth. Exporters report access to finance and distance as barriers, but also report fewer concerns about the exchange rate than for New Zealand exporters generally."

The sector was attracting increased investment from angel and venture investors, and a growing number of firms were listing on the sharemarket.

The report said 62,000 people were employed in ICT occupations across the whole economy last year, 11,000 more than in 2003.

"This report showcases New Zealand's performance in the ICT sector, which contributes five percent of the country's GDP. It focuses particularly on Information Technology services, which have achieved export growth of 10 percent per annum since 2002," Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement.

A big issue for ICT companies was attracting enough highly-skilled graduates and the number of degree graduates with IT specialties was predicted to increase from 1,200 in 2011 to between 1,600 and 1,900 annually by 2014.

"That sort of growth will need to continue in the years ahead," Joyce said.