International reach

New Zealand presents a prosperous though relatively small market. However, many businesses have found it surprisingly easy to scale operations far beyond the domestic scene.

New Zealand has been doing exactly that since 1882 when the Dunedin, delivering a cargo of frozen sheep meat to England, became the world’s first refrigerated ship - opening up world markets for our agricultural products.

Today, the growth of the digital world economy continues to break down the barriers of distance and open up opportunities in new fields.

Outward-looking businesses in New Zealand benefit from high levels of digital connectedness, well-established trade links, and a strategic time zone.

Digital infrastructure

In digital economy rankings we're placed 13th by Huawei's Global Connectivity Index.

New Zealand’s internet infrastructure is advanced and efficient, and supported with significant government and private investment.

We ranked in the top 20 of the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Network Readiness Index, measuring overall readiness for participation in the digital world. That puts our digital ecosystem alongside (and in some cases ahead of) advanced countries like the USA, Canada, western Europe, Japan and the Asian tigers.

Huawei’s 2017 Global Connectivity Index ranked us 13th in the world, commenting that “fibre-to-the-home and 4G penetration continue to grow at remarkable rates... Rapidly spreading cloud services enable businesses to be more mobile and eliminate IT cost and complexity… radical increases in spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) will become a crucial growth accelerator for the New Zealand IT industry.”

The Harvard Business Review in 2016 included us in their list of ‘stand out’ countries that have high digital evolution and are maintaining momentum.

Network Readiness Index | World Economic Forum

Global Connectivity Index | Huawei

Where the Digital Economy is Moving the Fastest | Harvard Business Review

Connected physically

Over 30 global and regional shipping lines visit our deep-water ports and over 20 major international airlines serve international airports in five centres around the country.

Extensive trade networks

With the international centre of economic power shifting away from Europe towards Asia/US, we’re increasingly well-placed geographically.

We’re taking advantage of that with a strong and growing network of trade agreements.

We were the first western country to sign a free trade deal with China (2008) and also the first to secure a free trade agreement with Hong Kong.

We enjoy well-established trade links with the USA and Japan. We have a close trade relationship with Australia (called CER, Closer Economic Relations), giving New Zealand businesses duty-free access to a population of 24.6 million. Other agreements provide enhanced access to the ASEAN nations of South East Asia (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam), Chile and Korea.

Trade agreements are also in negotiation or awaiting ratification with India, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

New Zealand is committed to multilateral trade liberalisation and is active in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and regional groupings such as APEC and the East Asian Summit.

Strategic time zone

New Zealand’s working hours cover much of the business day in Asia and Australia and afternoons in western US states. We’re a strong location to be in if you need to manage workflows and transactions across locations anywhere around the Pacific Rim / Asia-Pacific.

If you have clients or colleagues on the US east coast, or in the UK or Europe, you and your team can be working for them while they sleep and have answers waiting in their in-box when they arrive at their desk the next day.

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Page last updated: 19/03/2018

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