Japanese auto supply giant Denso joins Montreal AI cluster with new R&D lab

Artificial intelliegence (Flickr)

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.

Quebec premier Francois 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.

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.

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.