Jun Yu, Head of DiDi Labs in Toronto, said DiDi looks forward to actively contributing to the flourishing local tech ecosystem (Photo: Business Wire)

Didi Chuxing (“DiDi”), the world's leading mobile transportation platform, today officially launched its DiDi Labs in Toronto, Canada. This marks the second major research facility founded by DiDi in North America, following the establishment of DiDi Labs in Mountain View, California, in March 2017.

Since its inception, DiDi Labs in Mountain View has invested heavily in product development and safety technology for DiDi’s international operations in Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Greater China.

The new DiDi Labs in Toronto, which will focus on research into intelligent driving and artificial intelligence, will be led by Jun YU, Senior Vice President of DiDi and chair of DiDi’s Product & Design Committee. As a pioneer in China’s consumer app industry, Jun Yu was responsible for creating many of China’s leading internet products.

At the inauguration of the Toronto site, Jun Yu said, “Toronto’s inclusive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship makes it an incredible location for tech investment. We look forward to actively contributing to the flourishing local tech ecosystem, and to building deep partnerships for smart and sustainable transportation solutions locally and globally.”

Christopher Yip, Associate Vice President of the University of Toronto, joined DiDi’s team led by Bob Zhang, DiDi’s Chief Technology Officer, at the inaugural ceremony. On the same day, DiDi also reached a strategic partnership with the University of Toronto. The two sides will explore collaborative projects in areas ranging from vehicle connectivity and autonomy, to artificial intelligence and smart transportation.

In recent years, Canada has become a fast-growing, global tech and innovation center. Studies show that a record Can$ 447 million of venture capital has been injected into Canadian AI startups between 2015 and 2017, with the country’s AI talent pool ranking third in the world behind the U.S. and the U.K.