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Investing in Canada: the Silicon Valley of the North

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The following content is sponsored by the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco.

Foreign Direct Investment in Canadian Tech Sector

Canadian Technology Hotspots

Investing in Canada: the Silicon Valley of the North

The fastest-growing tech hubs are no longer limited to the San Francisco Bay Area. Canadian cities have emerged as ideal ecosystems for nurturing technology companies.

In particular, Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, and Vancouver are well-known hubs for innovation, attracting some of the world’s top tech talent.

Today’s graphic from the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco highlights why Canada’s booming tech industry is attractive to foreign companies, and where the new avenues for growth are located.

Investing in Canada’s Tech Sector

Canada is an attractive market for foreign investors and corporations.

  • Free Trade: Canada is the only country that freely trades with every G7 nation
  • Innovation: The tech startup ecosystem in Canada ranks 3rd in the world
  • Stability: Canada’s social and political climate ranks in the top 20 most stable worldwide

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Canada is fueling this growth. In just a year, FDI grew by 70%—from $32.2 billion in 2017 to $54.7 billion in 2018. There are three primary types of FDI:

TypeDescriptionExample
HorizontalSame type of business established in a foreign country Cell phone provider in the U.S. opens stores in Canada
VerticalDifferent but related business established or acquired in a foreign countryU.S. manufacturer acquires a Canadian supplier of parts or raw materials required for its products
ConglomerateAn investment made in a business unrelated to the foreign investor’s existing businessJoint venture between a Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) company and a U.S. company with no experience in AI

For many years, Canada has maintained an open flow of trade, investment, and talent with other nations. That’s why many well-known foreign companies are flocking to the “Great White North” to attract world-class talent.

Who’s Got Talent: Hiring the Best

Canada is an emerging leader in talent attraction. The influx of FDI and skilled immigrants has sparked the “brain gain” throughout Canada’s tech sector.

The Global Skills Strategy (GSS) is a recent federal program that fast tracks immigration for highly-skilled workers applying directly to Canada or through U.S. companies. In 2018 alone, the GSS received over 10,000 applications─with a 96% success rate for approved work visas.

Shorter processing times for Canadian work visas are enabling more efficient immigration. Canadian visas are now processed within 10-14 days, compared with the typical U.S. timelines of 6-10 months.

Locally, Canadian tech talent has also grown formidable. Notable experts in AI, deep learning, and technology have pursued lucrative research and career opportunities in Canada.

Canadian Tech Pioneers

  • Yoshua Bengio: 2018 Turing Award, University of Montreal
  • Richard Sutton: Google DeepMind, University of Alberta
  • Joelle Pineau: Facebook AI Research (FAIR), McGill University
  • Geoffrey Hinton: Google, 2018 Turing Award, University of Toronto
  • Donna Strickland: 2018 Nobel Laureate, University of Waterloo
  • Doina Precup: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Senior Fellow, McGill University
  • Sanja Fidler: NVIDIA Director of AI, University of Toronto
  • Hugo Larochelle: Google Brain, CIFAR Associate Director, University of Montreal

Notable accolades include the Turing Award, which is given annually to selected individuals for their contributions “of lasting and major technical importance” to the computer science industry.

Highly skilled professionals such as those listed above are working closely with both renowned academic organizations and major tech companies to foster innovation in Canadian tech.

Show Me the Money: Setting up Shop in Canada

Companies that choose to invest in Canada’s technology sector also have access to several key financial incentives.

  1. Tax Incentives
    Foreign companies can receive corporate tax breaks for investing in a Canadian office. Any research and development (R&D) work may also be eligible for Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits.
  2. Lower Labor Costs
    Lower costs of living throughout Canada allows foreign companies to pay lower wages to staff without impacting quality of life. The rent-to-tech wage ratio─the ratio of a tech worker’s monthly housing costs to their monthly wages─is significantly lower in Canada compared to major U.S. tech hubs. For example, Montreal’s ratio is 12.6%, compared to San Francisco’s ratio of 26.4%.
  3. Lower Operating Costs
    Setting up a physical office also offers more value per dollar for foreign companies, as most operating costs are significantly lower in Canada.

The Canadian tech industry is consistently boosting job growth, tech innovation, and wealth creation─all important considerations for foreign companies and investors.

Attracting Foreign Companies to Canada

Many view Canada as a land of opportunity─ the country consistently ranks highly on global happiness, thanks to its stable politics, social factors, and strong economy.

With quality talent and lower costs, Canada is fertile ground for U.S. and foreign tech companies seeking to grow their businesses and global reach.

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More Than Precious: Silver’s Role in the New Energy Era (Part 3 of 3)

Long known as a precious metal, silver in solar and EV technologies will redefine its role and importance to a greener economy.

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Silver More Than Precious

Silver’s Role in the New Energy Era (Part 3 of 3)

Silver is one of the first metals that humans discovered and used. Its extensive use throughout history has linked its name to its monetary value. However, as we have advanced technologically, so have our uses for silver. In the future, silver will see a surge in demand from solar and electric vehicle (EV) technologies.

Part 1 and Part 2 of the Silver Series showcased its monetary legacy as a safe haven asset as a precious metal and why now is its time to shine.

Part 3 of the Silver Series comes to us from Endeavour Silver, and it outlines silver’s role in the new energy era and how it is more than just a precious metal.

A Sterling Reputation: Silver’s History in Technologies

Silver along with gold, copper, lead and iron, was one of the first metals known to humankind. Archaeologists have uncovered silver coins and objects dating from before 4,000 BC in Greece and Turkey. Since then, governments and jewelers embraced its properties to mint currency and craft jewelry.

This historical association between silver and money is recorded across multiple languages. The word silver itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon language, seolfor, which itself comes from ancient Germanic silabar.

Silver’s chemical symbol, “Ag”, is an abbreviation of the Latin word for silver, argentum. The Latin word originates from argunas, a Sanskrit word which means shining. The French use argent as the word for money and silver. Romans bankers and silver traders carried the name argentarius.

While silver’s monetary meanings still stand today, there have been hints of its use beyond money throughout history. For centuries, many cultures used silver containers and wares to store wine, water, and food to prevent spoilage.

During bouts of bubonic plague in Europe, children of wealthy families sucked on silver spoons to preserve their health, which gave birth to the phrase “born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”

Medieval doctors invented silver nitrate used to treat ulcers and burns, a practice that continues to this day. In the 1900s, silver found further application in healthcare. Doctors used to administer eye drops containing silver to newborns in the United States. During World War I, combat medics, doctors, and nurses would apply silver sutures to cover deep wounds.

Silver’s shimmer also made an important material in photography up until the 1970s. Silver’s reflectivity of light made it popular in mirror and building windows.

Now, a new era is rediscovering silver’s properties for the next generation of technology, making the metal more than precious.

Silver in the New Energy Era: Solar and EVs

Silver’s shimmering qualities foreshadowed its use in renewable technologies. Among all metals, silver has the highest electrical conductivity, making it an ideal metal for use in solar cells and the electronic components of electric vehicles.

Silver in Solar Photovoltaics

Conductive layers of silver paste within the cells of a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell help to conduct the electricity within the cell. When light strikes a PV, the conductors absorb the energy and electrons are set free.

Silver’s conductivity carries and stores the free electrons efficiently, maximizing the energy output of a solar cell. According to one study from the University of Kent, a typical solar panel can contain as much as 20 grams of silver.

As the world adopts solar photovoltaics, silver could see dramatic demand coming from this form of renewable energy.

Silver in Electric Vehicles

Silver’s conductivity and corrosion resistance makes its use in electronics critical, and electric vehicles are no exception. Virtually every electrical connection in a vehicle uses silver.

Silver is a critical material in the automotive sector, which uses over 55 million ounces of the metal annually. Auto manufacturers apply silver to the electrical contacts in powered seats and windows and other automotive electronics to improve conductivity.

A Silver Intensive Future

A green future will require metals and will redefine the role for many of them. Silver is no exception. Long known as a precious metal, silver also has industrial applications metal for an eco-friendly future.

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Visualizing All the Known Copper in the World

Are we running out of copper? This graphic from Trilogy Metals paints a clear picture of all the copper in the world, above and underground.

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All the Copper in the World

Visualizing All the Known Copper in the World

Copper has many important applications in the modern economy. From smartphones and cars, to homes and hospitals, we use the metal almost everywhere, especially with renewable energy.

Often, consumers take for granted the accessibility to modern technology without the thought of where the materials come from or their impact on the environment. The world and its resources are finite and confined by both geography and the technology used to extract resources.

As governments and economies struggle to achieve a sustainable balance between humanity’s material impact and the health of the planet, knowing the availability of resources will become a critical pivot for achieving and maintaining that balance.

Copper is one such resource—and today’s graphic from Trilogy Metals outlines all the copper ever mined and what known resources still exist on Earth.

Are we running out of copper?

Above Ground Copper Resources

The production of mined copper has increased dramatically over the last two decades, From 9.8 million metric tons in 1995 to 20 million metric tons in 2019, a 104% rise over 25 years.

A total of 700 million metric tons of copper have been mined throughout history. Based on the 2019 average price of $6,042/metric ton, that’s worth $4.2 trillion—more than the value of Apple and Amazon combined.

Chile has been the source of the majority of the world’s copper and the biggest copper mining nation. Together, Chile, Peru, and China account for 48% of current global copper production.

RankingCountryMine Production 2019 (Ktons)CountryReserves 2019 (Ktons)
#1Chile5,600Chile200,000
#2Peru2,400Peru87,000
#3China1,600Australia87,000
#4United States1,300Russia61,000
#5Congo1,300Mexico53,000
#6Australia960United States51,000
#7Zambia790Indonesia28,000
#8Mexico770China26,000
#9Russia750Kazakhastan20,000
#10Kazakhastan700Congo19,000
#11Indonesia340Zambia19,000
Other Countries3,800Other Countries220,000
World Total20,000World Total870,000

Source: USGS

As we enter the era of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and see more global economic growth, the demand for copper will continue to rise. In fact, the Copper Alliance projects an increase of 50% in just the next 20 years.

Are We Running Out of Copper? Not So Soon

Although a large chunk of the Earth’s copper is already above ground, there’s still more to mine.

According to the USGS, identified copper resources amount to 2.1 billion metric tons, with a further 3.5 billion metric tons in undiscovered resources.

At current production rates, it would take about 105 years for us to use all of it and this does not even account for recycling or new discoveries. Copper is 100% recyclable, and nearly all of the 700 million metric tons of mined copper is still in circulation. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that we won’t be running out of copper anytime soon.

Despite copper’s apparent abundance, the red metal is expensive to actually get out of the ground. As a result, the supply of copper has often fallen short in meeting its rising demand. This, in addition to falling resource grades in Chile, the largest producer of copper, emphasizes the need for new discoveries and mines.

While there are known reserves of copper above the ground, the Earth remains largely unexplored because of the inability to explore for minerals in the depths of the oceans and other planets. As the readily available supply of copper becomes scarce, the incentive to mine currently uneconomic copper increases.

A Mineral Intense Future

Most consumers take the immediate availability of materials such as copper and other metals for granted, with little thought about whether there is enough.

But it’s important to remember that these materials are as finite as the dimensions of the Earth. In this material world, understanding what is and what is not available is critical for a sustainable future here on Earth.

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