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Business research and development up 29 percent

Business research and development up 29 percent to $1.6 billion – Media release

29 March 2017

Computer services and machinery manufacturing firms led the way in an almost 30 percent lift in business spending on research and development (R&D) in 2016, Stats NZ said today. Businesses spent $1.6 billion on R&D in 2016, up $356 million (29 percent) from 2014.

The computer services sector had the biggest dollar-value increase in R&D within the business sector, up $125 million (40 percent) to $436 million in 2016. Computer services firms include New Zealand businesses providing services such as producing and distributing software, and web design.

The second-largest increase in business-related R&D spending was for machinery and equipment manufacturing, up $105 million (37 percent) to $392 million in 2016. These firms include high-tech manufacturing firms developing new products and services for sale in New Zealand or overseas.

Total spending on R&D by businesses, government, and higher education was $3.2 billion in 2016, up $531 million (20 percent) from 2014. R&D in the higher education (university) sector lifted and government R&D had a modest rise, but the bulk of the overall increase was from business spending.

“R&D spending is about investing in New Zealand’s future. It paves the way for new and better products or more efficient ways of doing things, although the process can take years,” business performance senior manager Daria Kwon said.

“While higher R&D spending is a key driver of economic growth according to some studies, it is not a guarantee that a business will be more creative or profitable.”

All services sector groups spent more on R&D in 2016 than in 2014, with an overall $203 million (32 percent) increase to $835 million. In the higher education sector, universities' R&D spending was up $143 million (18 percent) from 2014 to $960 million in 2016.

These figures come from the Research and Development Survey, which Stats NZ conducts every two years.


For more information about these statistics:

• Visit Research and Development Survey: 2016

• Open the attached files


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