British-Australian collaboration in the technology sector reached new heights during 2017, with five UK-based providers investing more than $130 million into the local market.
Creating 155 jobs in the process, the arrivals of DaXtra Technologies; Quantexa; NCC Group; Contino and Blue Prism headlines an expanding group of UK-based businesses opening offices on local shores.
During the past 12 months, Australia continues to be selected as a regional headquarters for the Asia Pacific region, as new entrants seek to leverage the availability of highly skilled workers, alongside close proximity to lucrative Asian markets.
From a technology perspective, DaXtra Technologies specialises in recruitment process automation, Quantexa in data analytics and NCC Group in information assurance solutions.
In addition, Contino operates as a technology and services consultancy to the insurance, telecommunications, retail, banking and investment banking sectors, while Blue Prism is a robotic process automation software platform provider.
According to fDi Markets, a service by the Financial Times, foreign direct investment (FDI) by these five organisations totalled approximately $130 million and created 155 jobs.
As outlined by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Australia also experienced continued interest from UK-based businesses operating across FinTech, cyber security and EdTech sectors.
“For many, their reasons for doing so were a combination of demand and interest from the Australian market, a strategic base for servicing clients in the Asia Pacific region, and being able to provide 24-hour support for global operations in Europe and North America,” Austrade senior investment manager for the UK and Ireland, Andy Thompson, said.
“We expect this trend to continue into 2018–19, particularly with the amount of activity and focus the UK and Australian governments have in this area.
“For example, 2018 will see the Lord Mayor of the City of London taking a delegation of UK FinTech and cyber security companies to Sydney and Melbourne.”
Adding to the list, other UK organisations that established a presence in Australia during the past 12 months included OTCX and Twinkl.
“FinTech company OTCX’s new office will service its Australian clients and facilitate the introduction of its technology into the Australian market,” Thompson explained.
“Twinkl, an EdTech publisher that provides online learning resources, has established its first Australian office and headquarters in Wollongong in regional NSW. The company has hired local staff and has adapted its curriculum resources for sale in Australia.”
Tapping into R&D
Delving deeper, Thompson said UK businesses continue to leverage Australia’s research and development (R&D) facilities, evident through the recent expansion of CloudSense locally.
Operating as a cloud integrator and service provider, CloudSense first entered the Australia market in May 2015, opening an office in Sydney to accelerate regional growth.
Fast forward to 2017 and the business opened a dedicated R&D office in Newcastle, NSW, representing the second new Australian office opening that year, following the unveiling of a Melbourne location in June.
The two new locations sit alongside CloudSense’s Australian headquarters in Sydney and helped push the company’s Asia Pacific headcount past 40 people by the close of 2017.
“It [Newcastle R&D office] will work in conjunction with CloudSense’s northern hemisphere development centres to ensure 24/7 R&D operations,” Thompson added. “The team will also provide increased support for CloudSense’s growing local and Asian customer base and partners.”
Meanwhile, telecommunications giant BT Group opened a cyber security R&D facility in Sydney during September 2017.
As reported by ARN, the facility focuses on cyber security, machine learning, data science analytics and visualisation, big data engineering, cloud computing, data networking and software engineering
Through a NSW Government-backed initiative, Jobs for NSW invested $1.67 million to support the development, which is designed to create more than 170 jobs over the next five years.
“This facility will be a cornerstone of our global cyber security capabilities and help us stay ahead in this fast moving space,” BT Security CEO, Mark Hughes, said at the time.