Montreal’s AI cluster gains new lab from Japanese auto supply giant Denso

Click to play video: 'Quebec Premier François Legault on Montreal’s booming AI sector'
Quebec Premier François Legault on Montreal’s booming AI sector
WATCH: Quebec Premier François Legault discusses the benefits of having Japanese auto supply giant Denso Corp. launch a research lab in Montreal – Jan 10, 2019

Japanese auto supply giant Denso Corp. is joining Montreal’s burgeoning artificial intelligence scene with the launch of a research and development lab in the city.

Chief executive Koji Arima said Thursday that Montreal’s collaborative AI ecosystem attracted his company to the area as Denso makes a push to open R&D labs around the world.

READ MORE: Montreal’s booming artificial intelligence sector gains three more companies

Quebec Premier François Legault, on hand for the downtown announcement, said AI will yield productivity gains across the globe and increase nominal GDP in Quebec by more than $4 billion annually.

He said that many of the benefits will come later, when the research gives way to new products and those products are taken to the market.

“What is important is not the size of the investment or the number of employees today, it is that Denso is working with our researchers to develop new products,” said Legault.

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WATCH BELOW: Montreal is turning into a hub for AI

Click to play video: 'Montreal continues to attract investment in artificial intelligence'
Montreal continues to attract investment in artificial intelligence

Over the past few years, Montreal’s booming big-data sector has lured corporate behemoths such as Facebook, Microsoft Corp., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Royal Bank of Canada and Samsung, all of which have opened or acquired local AI labs since 2016.

Montreal International, an economic development agency, says the industry attracted US$800 million in venture capital funding in 2017, more than any other Canadian city.

READ MORE: Facebook launches artificial intelligence lab in Montreal

Denso, which raked in a revenue of US$48.1 billion that year, employs 24,000 workers across 31 sites in North America, the majority of them in the U.S.

A handful of employees will begin working right away at the Montreal lab.

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With files from Global’s Elysia Bryan-Baynes

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