The importance of tech sector exports

Check out this new report on the technology sector in New Zealand.  Here’s the relevant piece:

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

We talked about the importance of exports to an economy because it brings in money rather than recirculating it.  This applies as well to the tech sector although it can’t be compared to other sectors.

For example, if a new restaurant opens up in town and shifts (recirculates) money from the other five restaurants to itself, there isn’t much economic expansion there.  However, if we see a big shift from restaurant spending to technology adoption, that could lead to more productivity, innovation, etc.

However, we don’t want to only be a consumer of IT (or in the case of NZ they include life sciences as well) – but an exporter.   This is the way to expand an economy – and as we have talked about many times here before New Brunswick’s economy right now is not big or robust enough to pay for our public services, fully utilize our infrastructure or even allow for a modest growth in population.

In my view, if we ever got to the point where we were exporting $5 out of every $7 in technology activity, we would be doing quite well indeed.