Published on December 12, 2014
Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria and Australia, is also the powerhouse and the innovation center of the Asia-Pacific. It is the place where numerous ground-breaking ideas are born. Furthermore, thanks to the state-of-the-art research and development infrastructure, talented minds and supportive environment, many of those ideas get a chance to be hatched and further realized into a tangible product or service.
The information and communications technology (ICT) industry in Victoria state is one of the region’s undeniable strengths. The Melbourne ICT sector alone accounts for 28% of national revenue, and Victoria-based ICT companies together earn gross annual revenues of $27.4 billion. One of the main reasons why the industry has been flourishing for so many decades, is the presence of consistent government support. The government of Victoria takes action to encourage ICT businesses to base themselves in the region, hence, creating more jobs for local talents. Instead of giving incentives in the traditional form of tax rebates, Victoria offers actual payment incentives to companies based on specific employment milestones to support their start-up operations. This tactic has been working well so far: the information technology sector in Victoria employs around 145,000 people which translates into approximately 31% of the total population in Australia. On top of the financial support, the government of Victoria fosters creation and development of the so-called “clusters of excellence”, which goals include building stronger network of technology professionals and encouraging exchange of ideas and experiences. Some examples of those clusters are: Digital Games, e-Health, e-Learning, Open Source and Women in ICT.
Being at the mature state, the ICT industry offers spots for both large corporations and small start-up companies. The state of Victoria houses around 8,000 companies, of which 11 are part of the top 20 Australian technology companies. Together they generate around A$33 billion in revenue. The following multinationals chose to establish their offices in the region: IBM, Microsoft, HP, Motorola, NEC, Ericsson, EMC, Cisco, Intel, Thales, Fujitsu, Hitachi and Bosch. When it comes to “homegrown” ICT companies, one would likely recognize the name of Melbourne IT - the world leader in the registration of domain names. Melbourne is also home to NICTA (National ICT Australia), Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Centre of Excellence - the largest Australian ICT research organization which is expected to be in the Top 10 ICT research centres by 2020. NICTA adopts user-inspired approach and focuses on the research areas of life sciences, intelligent transport systems, safety and security, environmental management and mobile systems and services.
One of the major focuses of the ICT sector in Victoria is in Life Sciences and biotechnology. The market value of Victoria’s listed biotechnology companies tripled between 2001-2002 and 2009, and the exports of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals products have grown to billions of dollars annually. In 2008, IBM and the Victorian Government and the University of Melbourne, agreed to collaborate on the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative and build the world’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to solve the pressing health challenges in the areas of oncology, neuroscience, stem cells and others. Victoria is also leading many influenza and other viruses-related researches. For instances, the company CSL has developed the first H1N1 (also known as swine flu) vaccine in 2009.
As it has been mentioned above, Melbourne is proud of its talents in the sphere if R&D. There are six large research-based universities which contribute significant results to the global technology industry. According to InvestVictoria, “Melbourne leads Australia in technology and engineering skills, accounting for more than 34 per cent of the nation’s technology and engineering graduates and 38 per cent of technology and engineering masters and PhD students”. With such a great base of sophisticated and high-skilled workforce, many Australian organizations stopped outsourcing IT services and turned to the local talent pool instead. Besides educating and providing career opportunities for Australian students, Victoria’s institutes also design and implement vocational ICT training programs for governments and organizations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Kuwait and China.
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