9 Nov 2009

Hopes 'digital hub' will attract foreign business

7:36 am on 9 November 2009

Wellington's economic development agency is hopeful a $20 million digital innovation hub proposed for the capital could help attract more foreign business to New Zealand shores.

The New Zealand Institute for Screen Innovation and the Hong Kong digital hub Cyberport are working together to establish the centre, which would be a smaller version of a $2.8 billion hub already being run in Hong Kong.

The central Wellington centre would house the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and facilities to allow it to record musical scores for films, as well as other digital entertainment ventures.

Grow Wellington's centre of excellence general manager Laurence Greig says the facility would have the potential to attract business from around the world.

He says the centre should help already strong businesses in the region to develop further.

Mr Greig says the digital entertainment space in Wellington, with films, animation and gaming already generates more than $250 million a year for the region.

He says that could grow over the next ten years to be in excess of a $1 billion.

But Mr Greig says it needs certain catalysts to make that happen, including ensuring the right infrastructure is available.

He says a business case will be prepared over the next six months, and the first phase of the project could be completed by the end of 2011.

It is likely to be partly funded by local and central government, and the Douglas Lilburn Studio Trust.