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NZ Technology Innovators Establish Beachhead

NZ Technology Innovators Establish Beachhead In Dubai

16 September 2005 – Four of New Zealand’s leading technology companies have been quick to sign up to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s latest business beachhead which opens in Dubai Internet City next week.

The companies – Argent Networks, 4RF Communications, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Mercer Technologies – say their presence in the beachhead will make it easier to do business in the big and fast growing Middle East region.

NZTE’s Senior Trade Commissioner and Consul General in Dubai Gavin Young saysInternet City, the Middle East's biggest technology park, is seen as a strategic base for technology companies from around the world targeting emerging markets in a region that extends from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent, and Africa to the CIS (Commonwealth Independent States) countries, covering 1.6 billion people with a combined GDP of US$1.1 trillion.

The new beachhead, to be opened on Tuesday 20 September, will be known as New Zealand Technology Oasis in Dubai and will be positioned with the "New Zealand New Thinking" brand. Beachhead members will share offices, reception and administration support, VoIP telephony and high-speed internet accesses and can use hot desking facilities and meeting rooms.

Mr Young says the Beachhead Programme fast-tracks the vital phase of building networks in a new market. “Participant companies are ensured access to those top-quality in-market connections it would normally take years to develop.”

Beachheads also reduce the costs and risks associated for businesses establishing themselves in new markets. There are also beachheads in Silicon Valley, Fort Lauderdale (in the US), the UK and Singapore.

The four companies will all have staff working out of the beachhead offices.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has been selling its respiratory humidifiers and obstructive sleep apnea devices to the Middle East for a number of years, says Corporate Relations spokesperson Simon Hall. He says the beachhead will enable the company to have someone based in the market for the first time, and he expects it to make a big difference.

“Distance from these markets is a key issue. If you’re set up in the market you’ll do much better. We are just scratching the surface at the moment. When you’ve got markets the size of Egypt with over 70 million people, and countries like Iran opening up and Algeria and Libya in the future, then the opportunities are immense.

“It’s also fantastic to have New Zealand Trade and Enterprise behind you. It gives you more strength when you are trying to set up an office. Things happen faster and it gives you more credibility in the market.”

Mr Hall says the beachhead will also give Fisher & Paykel Healthcare the opportunity to network with Mercer Technologies, another New Zealand company that’s in the medical technology business.

Mercer Technologies is looking to create new markets in the Middle East for its infection control solutions, explains General Manager Chris de Klerk. Once that business is established, it will then start marketing its food technology and packaging products to a region it also sees as having big potential.

“We see the Middle East as being a very large market for Mercer,” says Mr de Klerk. “We have signed up to the beachhead because we see benefits from being in a New Zealand environment, and because it is more cost effective than servicing the market from New Zealand or setting up our own office in the market.”

Telecommunications will be another key sector represented initially by Argent Networks and 4RF Communications with others in the sector indicating that they too will join.

Grant Dow, 4RF Communications Chief Executive Officer, says the Middle East is an important region for the company.

“Since June 2005, 4RF has won two contracts in the region valued at more than US$2 million for the supply of solutions for point-to-point wireless transmission and networking applications.

“We consider the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Beachhead Programme is a valuable initiative. It provides vital support for organisations establishing a regional presence, and Dubai is a recognised international gateway for the region.”

Tim Rattray, 4RF Sales Director for Middle East and Africa, will be based in the Technology Oasis.

Argent Networks Chief Executive Chris Jones says the Beachhead Programme will assist the company as it expands upon its already significant presence in the Middle East and Africa.

“Since we entered this region four years ago we have won a number of large contracts with telecommunications companies throughout the Middle East and Africa and have identified these regions as key areas of growth.”

Argent already has 11 staff members based in the region, some of whom will transfer to the new beachhead offices in Dubai.

Argent, which was recently named one of the Top 100 Private Companies in Asia by the prestigious Red Herring magazine, specialises in providing billing and customer-care solutions for telecommunications companies.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Argent Networks – an Auckland-based software company that designs, develops, integrates, markets and supports communications and billing products for mobile, fixed and internet protocol carriers and service providers.
www.argentnetworks.com

2. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare – an Auckland-based company that designs and manufactures obstructive sleep apnea, respiratory humidifiers, nerve stimulators, infant warmers, infant resuscitators and patient warmers products. www.fphcare.com

3. 4RF Communications – a Wellington-based telecommunications company that develops high-performance, point-to-point digital radios. www.4rf.com

4. Mercer Technologies – an Auckland-based medical products company which has formed Mercer Middle East to market its infection control solutions. www.mercers.co.nz

ENDS

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