The growth is so widespread it is not dependent on any one standout performerGreg Shanahan, TINGrowth in New Zealand\u2019s robust technology export sector has broken through the $1 billion mark for the first time, underlining the sector\u2019s rise as a key driver for the country\u2019s economic growth.New Zealand\u2019s leading 200 tech \u201cexporters\u201d continue to grow strongly in size and diversity, increasing revenue by a record 12 per cent over the past year to reach combined revenues of $9.4 billion, according to the 2016 TIN100 Report.This double digit growth was spread across geographies, market sectors and company sizes, with the growth also resulting in a record number of new tech sector jobs. \u201cIt is not just a consistent rate of growth, it is an accelerating rate of growth," says TIN managing director Greg Shanahan. \u201cIn no previous year since the launch of the TIN100 Report 12 years ago, has change been so dramatic or widespread,\u201d he adds.\u201cThis year\u2019s data signals that an inflexion point has been passed as the industry hits critical momentum, reflecting longer term acceleration of technology growth and a significant closure of the export earnings gap between dairy and tech.\u201d TINNo captionThe industry hits critical momentum, reflecting longer term acceleration of technology growth and a significant closure of the export earnings gap between dairy and techGreg Shanahan, TIN\u201cAt this stage I would say technology overtaking dairy is a certainty,\u201d says Shanahan. \u201cIf you are an optimist you would probably say in three years, and if you are a little bit more conservative, it will be a bit longer than that, around five to six years,\u201d says Shanahan.He points out the 200 companies in the TIN (TIN200) report created nearly 3000 new jobs in the past year, up 7.9 per cent, to employ almost 40,000 people. \u201cThe dairy sector domestically employs that number so in terms of social impact already, the technology sector is having a significant impact.\u201dThe report likewise records a 16 per cent growth in RD spend among the companies. It says RD now accounts for nearly 9 per cent of total revenues of the TIN200 companies.The report tracks the performance of New Zealand\u2019s 200 (TIN100 and Next100) largest technology exporters in the areas of information and communication technology (ICT), high-tech manufacturing and biotechnology. It is produced by Technology Investment Network (TIN) and sponsored by NZTE, Callaghan Innovation, EY and AJ Park."The diversification of the NZ economy is really happening, with the hi-tech sector leading the way," says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce at the launch of TIN100 in Auckland. (Photo by Divina Paredes)\n\n\u201cWe\u2019re also seeing changing dynamics across the industry as more companies are expanding through acquisition than ever before, more investment is being made across the entire breadth of company life cycles and more high growth companies across a range of sectors are muscling out the single market powerhouses,\u201d says Shanahan.He says the financial services sector (31.2 per cent) and digital media (24.3 per cent) sectors recorded the highest percentage gains.\u201cThe newest story this year is the sudden acceleration in digital media companies,\u201d says Shanahan.Weta Digital is well known from the production side but there is a whole range of companies in this sector, he states.On the distribution side, Vista Entertainment Solutions is the number one provider for multicomplex cinemas and deals with the largest entertainment companies in the world. Parrot Analytics, one of the top 10 promising early stage companies, analyses global demand for entertainment media.\u201cThe companies range from startups to scale up to mature companies,\u201d he states. "There is new blood coming through on the strength of these trends.\u201dIn addition to the TIN100 rankings which include the EY Ten Companies to Watch 2016 and Ten Hot Emerging Companies 2016, for the first time this year\u2019s report also lists the 100 promising New Zealand Early Stage Companies.No captionNo captionNo captionNo captionTop performersAuckland and Northland:The Auckland region has continued its strong growth in 2016, with TIN200 companies generating over $5.4 billion revenue (12 per cent revenue growth); created 1,203 jobs (6 per cent job growth) The top 5 Auckland companies (in revenue terms) were: \u2022 Fisher Paykel Appliances \u2022 Fisher Paykel Healthcare \u2022 Orion Health \u2022 Temperzone Group \u2022 Douglas PharmaceuticalsWellington and Lower North IslandThe Wellington region nearly doubled its revenue growth percentage in 2016, and again topped percentage growth this year.TIN200 companies generated over $1.9 billion revenue (15 per cent revenue growth); created 1,516 jobs (18 per cent job growth) The top 5 Wellington companies (in revenue terms) were: \u2022 Datacom Group \u2022 Xero \u2022 Weta Digital \u2022 Intergen \u2022 Fronde Systems GroupHamiltonHamilton grew its revenue growth percentage in 2016 by 11 per cent. TIN200 companies generated nearly $566 million revenue; created 62 jobs (3 per cent job growth). The top 5 Hamilton companies (in revenue terms) were: \u2022 Gallagher Group \u2022 NDA Group \u2022 Waikato Milking Systems NZ \u2022 Pacific Aerospace \u2022 SimcroChristchurch and South Island The South Island region further increased its traction in 2016, with TIN200 companies generating nearly $1.3 billion revenue (9.2 per cent revenue growth), created 124 jobs (2.2 per cent job growth). The top 5 South Island companies (in revenue terms) were: \u2022 Tait Communications \u2022 Diligent Corporation \u2022 OMNI Orthopaedics \u2022 Scott Technology \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\u2022 CWF Hamilton (Source: TIN100)TIN managing director Greg Shanahan at the launch of the TIN100 report in Auckland (Photo by Divina Paredes)\n\nSend news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinapFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nzSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.