Connecting innovative New Zealand and Korean tech companies
“New Zealand is already well-known for our stunning scenery and great food and beverages, but increasingly we are hearing more and more of New Zealand being talked about as an innovative, creative and successful hub for tech companies and startups to thrive and grow,” said Philip Turner, New Zealand Ambassador to Korea.
A New Zealand Tech Roadshow visited Korea during 17-20 June 2019 for a series of events designed to connect innovative New Zealand tech firms with tech-savvy Korean counterparts. The roadshow was supported by the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea, known as “The Kiwi Chamber,” and the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul.
As part of the Chamber’s “Inspire with Innovation” series, the roadshow aimed to demonstrate the strength of New Zealand technology and connect the world-class technology ecosystems of both countries. Technology is critical to future prosperity, and it is the fastest growing sector of the New Zealand economy, growing 11 percent to over NZ$11 billion in 2018. Export revenue of NZ$7.9 billion makes it New Zealand’s third-largest export sector.
“New Zealand’s place at the edge of the world has driven us to be creative, practical, and ready to challenge convention,” remarked Ambassador Turner. “We are not the biggest, but we strive to find new ways to do things. We are a country-sized incubator leading the way. We have a tradition of New Zealander trailblazing – a New Zealander was the first to split the atom, the first to invent the jetboat and the first to invent disposable syringes.”
The Tech Roadshow included a delegation of four key New Zealand Tech firms from a range of sectors who visited Korea to share their innovations:
Aware Group (artificial intelligence) – Aware Group is a global leader at counting and classifying through the use of artificial intelligence and is New Zealand’s leader in in providing artificial intelligence services for the public sector and large enterprises across multiple verticals from agriculture to transport.
Centrality (blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT) – Centrality is a New Zealand based global software and venture investment company with 90 staff in
five countries that specializes in A.I. and blockchain technology. Centrality is one of the world’s top blockchain projects and has more than 30 companies in its portfolio.
Revolution Fibres (nanofibre textiles) – Revolution Fibres, which was founded in 2009, is a world-leading nanofibre textile production company. It has products in the air filtration (HVAC and respiratory masks), carbon fibre (sporting goods to Formula 1) and acoustics (building materials and UAV’s). It has long-term collaboration services agreements with global brands such as Patagonia and Estee Lauder.
Code Avengers (education technology) – Code Avengers is an online educational technology company with a mission to prepare students for the opportunities of tomorrow. Its courses and resources align with new mandatory school curricula in New Zealand, UK, Australia, USA and others around the world, and it provides students with real-world skills that prepare them for the job market. Over 2 million learners and 15,000 plus schools have used Code Avengers.
During the visit, each company met firms such as Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, Mirae Asset, Amore Pacific and Cyworld, along with government entities such as the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Ministry of the Interior and Safety and Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ).
“The Kiwi Chamber’s ‘Inspire with Innovation Series’ has been a major success enabling us to focus on technology and innovation, which is a great New Zealand story,” explained Dr. Tony Garrett, Chairman of the Kiwi Chamber. “These four tech firms demonstrate the integrity, collaboration and accountability that Korean firms will experience in their partnerships with New Zealand companies.”
“While New Zealand is well-known for its pure and green environment, Haka, The Lord of the Rings and hobbits, it is increasingly being thought of as a tech-savvy country,” said Anna Song, Project Manager and Kiwi Chamber board member. “Tech trends are calling for ethics, authenticity and transparency these days – all ideals the New Zealand tech sector embraces – and with its ingenuity the industry is advancing at a fast pace domestically and internationally.”
There was a special “Inspire With Innovation” reception at the New Zealand Ambassador’s Residence on Tuesday 18 June and a Kiwi Chamber Hui (a traditional Maori social gathering), for networking among participating firms, the business community and government representatives, the next day.
The New Zealand Tech Roadshow in Korea is a collaboration between The Kiwi Chamber and the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul with support from key organizations such as NZTE, KEA, ExportNZ, Priority One, Callaghan Innovation, NZTech, Otago Southland Employers Association, ChristchurchNZ and Asia New Zealand Foundation.