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Tech savvy NZ 'perfect' for freelance expansion

Published: 8:17AM Monday September 27, 2010 Source: ONE News

New Zealand is the ideal country to expand the global outsourcing website freelancer.com, its chief executive says.

The Sydney-based company is launching a New Zealand version of its site and Matt Barrie said it's a "great place to kick off" its global expansion because New Zealanders have a global perspective.

"New Zealand is the land of the small business," he told NZI Business today.

Barrie said NZ is geographically remote but is "very technologically savvy" and New Zealanders are "renowned as early adopters".

Freelancer claims to already connect over 1.8 million employers with freelance workers from around the world and Barrie said it is about outsourcing work at a fraction of the cost paid locally.

It's a bit like Trade Me, he says, with small businesses looking to place small jobs from $30 to $200.

He explained a job is posted and freelancers around the world are notified within seconds - about 30 to 40 people usually bid.

Barrie says freelancer.com is very popular with a huge amount of traffic and the site has just hit 800,000 jobs globally.

He said they have outsourced about $NZ88 million worth of work which is roughly equivalent to about half a billion dollars worth of western world jobs.

Although there is a domestic market, Barrie said the work is mostly going from developed countries in the west such as the US, UK and Canada to poorer developing countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

While outsourcing has come under criticism, especially from unions, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive Barrie said, with businesses becoming very competitive and increasing sales while cutting costs.

He said the company provides job opportunities in technical areas that don't exist, particularly in the developing world. And he claims Freelancer "fills the gap" in a lot of jobs the western world is short of.

IT is the starting point but Barrie said increasingly every job is being digitised and involves an interchange of digital files and digital information.

"As broadband increases different types of jobs to outsource will just increase."

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