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NZ Sevens Team Help Our Exporters In Dubai

NZ Sevens Team Help Our Exporters In Dubai

Wellington, November 8, 2001 -- New Zealand technology companies are increasingly recognising the export potential of the Middle East, with their efforts to enter the market receiving a boost from the Kiwi Sevens decision to play in Dubai this week.

Three Wellington web-development and communications companies - Mission Hall, The Bridge and Shift - travelled to Dubai recently as part of Ensignz, a Trade New Zealand Export Network that has now evolved into a limited company for export work.

The companies visited GITEX 2001, one of the world’s largest computer and IT exhibitions, and had a series of one-on-one meetings with potential government and private sector clients, arranged by Trade New Zealand.

Mission Hall Director Chris Lipscombe says Ensignz decided to visit Dubai after research showed it was a market with good export potential.

“Even after 11 September and it looked like the US were going to start bombing Afghanistan we decided to go ahead with the visit after we received assurances that it was safe to do business there.

“And that advice was absolutely borne out by our visit – it certainly felt like business as usual - we saw there was a huge amount of money being invested in some very bold enterprises.”

Mr Lipscombe says it reflected well on the Ensignz companies that the New Zealand Sevens had decided to play in Dubai this week (in contrast to Australia and Fiji) despite the tournament being stripped of its World Series status because several nations did not want to travel to the Middle East.

“There was real excitement about the prospect of the New Zealand team coming and that created a very favourable impression with the government and industry people we met with.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Richard Hall says opportunities for high-tech companies in the Middle East are immense, as economies like Dubai and Jordan pour billions of dollars into IT and telecommunications projects.

“Dubai has set itself up at the high-tech hub for the region. It has spent billions on a purpose-built, state of the art ‘Internet City’ and ‘Media City’ to provide an infrastructure and environment for e-commerce and media enterprises to operate locally, regionally and globally out of Dubai with significant competitive advantages.”

Mr Hall says major international companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard have set up operation in the ‘cities’ and contracts continue to be signed for long-term leases. There is also a major drive underway to e-enable every Government department in the emirate. A new portal for Dubai government services was launched at the end of October.

“Dubai has looked at the Singaporean infrastructure and its place as a regional high-tech hub and has taken that model and expanded it tenfold. It’s been happening over the past few years and New Zealand high tech companies are starting to pick up on it,” Mr Hall says.

Ensignz’ Mr Lipscombe says while there is no shortage of web development companies in the Middle East, smart thinking about how to use the internet and electronic networks to improve communication and build interaction is not a readily available commodity.

“That’s the kind of thing that adds value to a business and that’s what New Zealand can offer the Middle East. We received some very strong expressions of interest in our services which we are now following up.”

Trade New Zealand’s Senior Trade Commissioner to the Middle East, Gavin Young says it’s definitely business as usual in the region.

“After experiencing some cancellations in exporter visits in September, most
New Zealand companies are now back on their scheduled travel to the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries. There is business to be done in Dubai and all exporters who have been coming are commenting on how safe it is compared with some of the perceptions in New Zealand.

“We had a strong New Zealand group exhibiting at the Big 5 Building Show in Dubai recently, and this week the New Zealand Sevens team has arrived.”

For further information:

Richard Hall, Trade New Zealand Account Manager, ph 04 499 2244, email Richard.hall@tradenz.govt.nz , Mob: 021 355 818

Chris Lipscombe, Director, Mission Hall, ph 04 801 8809

Chris O'Connell, Chairman, The Bridge, ph: 04 385 3579, email chris@thebridge.co.nz

Selwyn Feary, Managing Director, Shift, ph: 04 499 8050, email selwyn@shift.co.nz

Gavin Young, Trade New Zealand Senior Trade Commissioner Middle East, mobile 00971 50645 0851

Released by Aimee McClinchy, Trade New Zealand Communications, ph 09 915 5628

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