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Fujtisu Picks Vancouver as Site of Its Global Artificial Intelligence Headquarters
November 7, 2018
Fujitsu's breadth of investments in advanced artificial intelligence technology have been growing rapidly, making it no surprise that the company was readying a major restructuring to focus on AI. What was a surprise was where they put the headquarters -- British Columbia.
On November 6, Fujitsu formally announced the establishment of a new company that will formulate and carry out strategy for its artificial intelligence business. Based in Vancouver, Canada, "Fujitsu Intelligence Technology" commenced operations on November 1.
Fujitsu Intelligence Technology is working to grow Fujitsu's global AI business by bringing together the innovative AI technologies and solutions developed by the company in Japan and regions around the world, and then by providing these back to each region as global products and services.
Fujitsu established the new company in Vancouver, Canada, an area that together with surrounding regions is home to numerous research institutions, such as the University of Toronto which is engaged in world-leading AI and quantum computing research. Moreover, these regions are a locus of innovative business ideas from the IT industry, demonstrated by a diverse business ecosystem that has witnessed the proliferation of many cutting-edge startup tech companies, including the quantum-computing software developer 1QB Information Technologies Inc.
Fujitsu Intelligence Technology will benefit from the strong support and cooperation of the British Columbia government, and the Canadian government, which aims to transform the nation into a global AI leader. With its new Vancouver AIHQ, Fujitsu aims to become a central player in the North American, and global AI ecosystems. In tandem with this it plans to forge strong ties in its community, hiring local AI talent with knowledge of the latest, leading-edge technologies.
The openness of both the Canadian and British Columbian governments to foreign direct investments in the area also made a difference. Canada's growing world-wide reputation as one of the most important AI centers in the world, with companies such as Google and Microsoft also choosing to put major AI centers there, also made a difference.
Google's first North American AI center was a branch of its UK-based DeepMind subsidiary. The Canadian arm of that group is located in Edmonton, Alberta.
Microsoft's Canadian AI hub is located in Montreal.
By establishing this critical location outside Japan, Fujitsu will respond with agility to international standards and demands, gaining a keen understanding of global customer needs and driving the development of new solutions. As the new headquarters that will promote Fujitsu's AI business, Fujitsu Intelligence Technology will play a crucial role in accelerating innovative solutions and services for the Fujitsu Group as a whole.
Fujitsu Intelligence Technology Overview
Location: 355 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BCCapitalization: 6 million Canadian Dollars (Wholly owned by Fujitsu Limited)CEO: Naoko Yoshizawa, Fujitsu Limited, EVP Vice Head of Digital Services Business (in charge of AI Services Business)Start of operations: November 1, 2018Business: Global unification of Fujitsu's AI business. Design, development, and delivery for globally competitive solutions, platform and professional services.
In speaking about Fujitsu's new Global AI location, Ian Burney, Ambassador of Canada to Japan, said that, "Canada is very proud that Fujitsu has chosen Vancouver for its Global AI Headquarters. Canada offers a world-class digital technology ecosystem, a talented and diverse workforce, and a high quality of life, which will help Fujitsu bring the benefits of AI technology to global markets. The Government of Canada very much welcomes Fujitsu's new initiative in Canada."
The Honorable John Horgan, Premier of the Province of British Columbia and a strong backer of the technology industry within his province, said about the investment, "As Fujitsu makes its final preparations to launch the new Fujitsu Intelligence Technology office in Vancouver, I want to extend a very warm welcome on behalf of the government of British Columbia. Fujitsu is a significant global player in information and communications technology, and a greatly valued addition to British Columbia's diverse and growing technology sector. In Vancouver and across British Columbia, Fujitsu will have the opportunity to collaborate with our state-of-the-art universities and research facilities to discover new ways that artificial intelligence can help solve local and global challenges. Before long, I anticipate that we will hear of exciting advancements and new technologies emerging from Fujitsu's Vancouver facility."