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Trumped: What does it mean for the tech sector?

Paul Brislen, Editor. 10 November 2016, 10:06 am
Trumped: What does it mean for the tech sector?

Donald Trump's US presidential election win last night has shaken up many business sectors, not least the share market where a US rally appears to be driven by shares in defence, oil and private prison companies, and the tech sector is not immune to such events either.

Immigration was one of Trump's key planks, or rather the clamping down on immigration. Assuming Trump gets his way, and with both House and Senate firmly in the hands of Trump's Republican party that seems likely, the number of high-tech H1-B visas is likely to be slashed making it harder for US companies to employ skilled workers from other countries.

Having said that, the other less well defined layers of his immigration policy include banning those of the Muslim faith entirely, so that may have a swing effect for white, male tech employees from "friendly" countries like New Zealand.

Similarly, Trump's plan to introduce tariffs on goods produced in China will affect sales of high end electronic goods across the US, potentially meaning China may turn to more profitable markets around the world instead. Whether that will benefit New Zealand or not remains to be seen.

Trump also opposed the move to liberalise management of the internet, with moves to have ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers which oversees the allocation of domain names) no longer report in to the US government but rather to an international group. However, Trump has also said the government should clamp down on access to the internet which would suggest he doesn't actually know what he's talking about.

Oddly, that's the same issue when it comes to net neutrality. Trump has opposed net neutrality and has apparently appointed a telco lobbyist, Jeffrey Eisenach, to head his telco team. Eisenach has spent the past few years attacking the Federal Communications Commission for its moves in the net neutrality area.

And as for international trade - the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is unlikely to proceed given Trump's views on such things.

Local health software company Orion Software is one that is exposed to the US market volatility at this point. Whether Trump clamps down on international companies accessing the US market is still to be determined but providers like Orion and Xero will be mulling over the opportunities and pitfalls such an election will bring.

Coming so soon after the UK vote to leave the European Union, turmoil is going to be the new norm for the exporters of the world for quite some time to come.


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Ian Apperley 10 November 2016, 1:46 pm

You forgot the bit where Donald said he was going to talk to Bill Gates and see how he could look at "closing it up."

Chris O'Brien 10 November 2016, 9:38 pm

I'm not sure that any 'swing effect' from discrimination against the Muslim faith would quite take one straight to opportunity for 'white males'. Any potential created by such a distasteful policy would presumably be on offer to all genders in the rich spectrum of non-Muslim faiths and races in the NZ tech sector, but would exclude white male Muslims. Perhaps the President elect is not alone in favouring a few stereotypes...

Paul Brislen 11 November 2016, 6:34 am

That was supposed to be a tongue in cheek comment given Trump's lack of consistent message on both tech and matters of race and migration.

I'll work on my timing.

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