Government confirms Ericsson joint-venture funding

The government is to put $1.6 million into the Ericsson Synergy mobile internet project in Wellington.

The government is to put $1.6 million into the Ericsson Synergy mobile internet project in Wellington.

The funding is made up of $750,000 from Industry New Zealand's Major Investment Fund and up to $850,000 from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

It was announced today by Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton, Industry Minister Pete Hodgson and IT Minister Paul Swain. The trio see the cash injection as a major follow-on from last week's Knowledge Wave conference.

"[It] shows the government is prepared to be active in chasing investment that is good for New Zealand," says Anderton.

Swedish telcommunications equipment provider Ericsson and the Wellington software house launched the Ericsson Synergy (ESL) joint venture late last year. The Wellington-based internet applications centre already employs 32 staff, developing m-commerce applications for mobile phones, advanced WAP and messaging.

It has also created service platform technology, which integrates mobile networks, web/WAP sites, customer management and billing systems so that people using mobile internet services have a seamless experience.

ESL chief executive Stephen Crombie says the technology is already being used by major telcos in New Zealand and Australia. ESL also provides consultation services and solutions in Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, the Phillipines, Canada and Sweden.

Synergy International chief executive David Irving says his firm's support for the venture ensures it has a strong Kiwi culture and the joint venture helps keep skills here.

The project is getting interest from overseas-based New Zealanders looking to return home.

Synergy also has a "resource pool" of 250 staff, which Irving says allows ESL to compete for projects which otherwise would be too big for a start-up organisation.Ericsson New Zealand general manager Goran Olsson says many of the products developed by ESL will be marketed internationally by Ericsson.

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