February 8, 2018 / 9:41 PM / a year ago

Salesforce investing $2 bln in Canada, in northward U.S. tech growth

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. business software developer Salesforce.com Inc will pump $2 billion into its Canadian business over the next five years, it said on Thursday, the latest major U.S. high technology investment across the border since early 2017.

Toronto is a hub for artificial intelligence research and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting California this week in part to speak with U.S. technology CEOs. Canadian leaders have promoted their country’s immigration policies as an alternative to the Trump Administration’s ban on travelers from some Muslim countries and restrictions on work permits for some foreigners.

A Canadian program allows businesses to get work permits for foreign workers in about two weeks.

Salesforce said it would increase its Canadian office space, data center capacity and 1,000-strong workforce, without giving details.

Several other U.S. technology companies are expanding into their northern neighbor.

In May, Uber Technologies Inc said it would open a new artificial intelligence research hub in Toronto.

Alphabet Inc’s DeepMind unit in July announced plans to open a research office in Edmonton, and Amazon.com Inc put Toronto on a short list of contenders for its $5 billion second headquarters.

Facebook Inc in September said it would expand its artificial intelligence research lab in Montreal, where Microsoft Corp also plans to double the size of its research lab. (Reporting by Salvador Rodriguez; Editing by Peter Henderson and Richard Chang)

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