New Zealand tech exporters are likely to benefit from an accelerating market in Japan following this coming week’s economic and trade trip lead by Prime Minister Bill English, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.
Japan is a major trading partner with New Zealand with $6.4 billion traded between both countries last year. A large proportion of the $3.4 billion imported from Japan last year was technology, mainly consumer electronics. However, Muller says very little Kiwi technology was exported to Japan.
“New Zealand is a trusted brand in Japan and the Japanese population is comfortable with technology so this large market has plenty of upside for New Zealand tech exporters,” says Muller, who will be among the small delegation heading to Japan on Tuesday.
“In particular, agritech is becoming critically important for the Japanese market as the number of farms decline while food demand increases.
“Japan imports 60 percent of its food and the Japanese government has set targets of reducing this to 45 percent by 2050. This means a smaller number of domestic food producers will need to use technology to become more efficient. Another recent government initiative was a four-billion-yen investment for promoting farming automation technology to raise crop yields.
“Business analysts forecast the agritech market is primed for extensive growth internationally over the decades ahead. As the global population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, food needs would require a doubling of agricultural production, according to United Nations World Food Programme experts.
“While Japan is focussing on developing their own agritech exports around robotics and autonomous vehicles, New Zealand’s agritech opportunity in Japan could be developed from our leaders in genomics, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor based farm management systems and Software as a service (SaaS) offerings.
“These meetings being held with Japanese officials, agri-businesses and tech firms will start to lay the pathway for New Zealand tech firms. If the Trans-Pacific-Partnership FTA continues to move forward and results in a free trade agreement with Japan, the New Zealand tech and agritech sectors will be well placed to make the most of the opportunity.”
Japan is New Zealand’s fourth largest goods export market worth $3 billion and Muller says he is looking forward to meeting Japanese tech leaders during the trip.
Technology is New Zealand’s third biggest and fastest growing industry and NZTech is the national voice of the Kiwi tech industry.