$1.6m Government Support For Knowledge Joint Venture
Ericsson Synergy's New Zealand-based centre for the development of mobile internet applications could receive up to $1.6
million of government funding over the next three years.
Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton, Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson and Information
Technology and Communications Minister Paul Swain announced the funding today.
The $1.6 million of funding is made up of $750,000 from Industry New Zealand's Major Investment Fund and possible
funding on application of up to $850,000 from existing programmes provided by the Foundation for Research, Science and
The Major Investment Fund supports significant new investment in New Zealand by working with New Zealand and overseas
investors to overcome barriers and reduce the costs of significant business expansion or setting up major new businesses
in New Zealand. The Ericsson Synergy grant is the first from the fund.
The funding depends on the New Zealand-Swedish joint venture achieving a number of milestones, including employment
"An important theme of last week's Knowledge Wave conference was the need to be bolder in attracting foreign investment
and expertise in key high-tech areas," Jim Anderton said.
"Today's announcement shows the Government is prepared to be active in chasing investment that is good for New Zealand.
We have been working on this project for several months".
Ericsson Synergy Limited (ESL), which already employs 32 staff, is creating high-skill jobs in the high-tech sector,
attracting talented New Zealanders home and boosting foreign exchange earnings. Fifty percent of sales to date have been
"Ericsson's decision to invest here will provide stepping stones for New Zealand companies such as Synergy, to promote
their skills and abilities to global markets. It has already contributed to Synergy's successes overseas," said Pete
"There are many reasons to invest in New Zealand, including the low cost of doing business here, our innovative culture
and our highly skilled Information Technology workforce," Paul Swain said.
"Government assistance, either through direct funding or through indirect support, is only part of the picture," said
Jim Anderton said the ESL funding was another example of the whole of government approach to making the most of economic
Since ESL announced last November that it would be establishing an internet applications centre in New Zealand, Industry
New Zealand has been co-ordinating government assistance for the project. Ericsson Synergy's bid to have the centre
located in New Zealand was led by Investment New Zealand.
Chief executive of Ericsson Synergy Stephen Crombie said the company was delighted to be in line for government funding
to assist with its development of world-leading mobile internet applications and platforms.
"We intend to use this funding to supplement our existing research and development programme and already have a number
of new projects planned for this year which will focus on making mobile internet services more user-friendly and
secure," he said.
Since it began operating on January 1 this year, Ericsson Synergy has developed solutions for mobile office, mobile
commerce, advanced WAP and messaging, said Crombie.
It has also created a leading edge service platform technology, which integrates mobile networks, web/WAP sites,
customer management and billing systems so that people using mobile internet services have a seamless experience. This
technology is being used by major telecommunications companies in New Zealand and Australia.
"ESL has already provided consulting services, and solutions in Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Canada and
Sweden," said Crombie.
Chief executive of Synergy International David Irving said his company's support for Ericsson Synergy helped ensure the
joint venture had a strong New Zealand culture, the ability to harness Kiwi ingenuity quickly and could further develop
its global market and focus.
"This ties in with our Multi-Site Development strategy, via which our overseas staff establish client relationships in
global locations with the solutions and applications they need developed back here in New Zealand. This keeps the skill
base in New Zealand. We're receiving more and more CVs every week from ex-pat Kiwis and other international residents
who want to come and work here," Irving said.
He added that Synergy's resource pool of more than 250 staff enabled Ericsson Synergy to compete for assignments that
would otherwise be considered too big for a start-up organisation.
Managing director of Ericsson New Zealand Goran Olsson said Ericsson was an enthusiastic supporter of the Government's
Knowledge Wave strategy.
"The growth of Ericsson Synergy is further evidence of Ericsson New Zealand's commitment to this country's hi-tech
economy. Many of the solutions developed by Ericsson Synergy will be marketed around the world by Ericsson
internationally, which has a presence in 140 countries," said Olsson.