High-tech companies help push foreign investment in Montreal to new heights: $2B in 2017

The high-tech industry accounted for a lot of the record foreign investment in Montreal last year - companies invested just over $2B that helped create and maintain over 5200 jobs.

Montreal International, the non-profit group whose mandate is to help attract foreign companies to the Greater Montreal area, announced its results for 2017.

The $2.025B contributed to 15% of the province's economic growth.

The amount is double the results of the previous year and more than 100% compared to 2015.

About a quarter of the nearly 50 companies  were in the high-tech industry including Artificial Intelligence (AI), visual effects and animation, gaming and software; they accounted for 36% of the investments and half of the jobs.  Aerospace business made up 10% of the investments and 15% of employment.

Montreal International president Hubert Bolduc said the city is a hotbed for foreign investment, citing the cost of doing business here as well the cost of living and quality of life.

"The Greater Montreal has never been so attractive. The reasons people come here is because of the quality of the talent. Before we used to say that talent followed investments. Now investments follow talent," said Bolduc.

Bolduc and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard acknowledged they have to step up their game to attract and train talent during the ongoing labour shortage in many sectors.

Most of the companies which set up shop here last year come from Europe, the rest from North America and Asia. Some of the companies include Facebook with its new AI Research branch and Google Brain and its research team.