UK ICT investment into Australia: 2017 highlights

13 Dec 2017

British-Australian collaboration in the ICT sector remains strong, with many UK companies choosing Australia to establish Asia-Pacific regional headquarters due to the availability of highly skilled workers and proximity to Asian markets.

2017 saw several new UK ICT companies open offices in Australia 

  • DaXtra Technologies – recruitment process automation software provider for CV parsing
  • Quantexa – data analytics company
  • NCC Group – information assurance solutions provider
  • Contino – technology and services consultancy to the insurance, telecommunications, retail, banking and investment banking sectors
  • Blue Prism – RPA software platform provider.

According to fDi Markets, a service by the UK’s Financial Times, foreign direct investment (FDI) by these five organisations totalled approximately US$105.5 million and created 155 jobs.

Other UK organisations that established a presence in Australia this year 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. 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.

Research and development focus 

Several British ICT organisations have settled in and established research and development (R&D) facilities. For example, CloudSense, a cloud integrator and services provider that opened its first Australian office in in 2015, recently opened an R&D centre in Newcastle, NSW. It will work in conjunction with CloudSense’s northern hemisphere development centres to ensure 24/7 R&D operations. The team will also provide increased support for CloudSense’s growing local and Asian customer base and partners.

Meanwhile, telecommunications giant BT Group has opened a cyber security R&D facility in Sydney. The facility’s R&D will focus on cyber security, machine learning, data science analytics and visualisation, big data engineering, cloud computing, data networking and software engineering. BT Group’s Security CEO Mark Hughes says the facility is an exciting opportunity to tap into local cyber security talent, and by doing so, address a major skills shortage in the UK and elsewhere.

Andy Thompson, Austrade’s Senior Investment Manager for the UK and Ireland adds that 2017 saw continued interest from UK ICT firms looking to establish offices in Australia, particularly those operating within the 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,’ says Thompson. ‘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.’