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Walmart announces global tech hub in Ontario. Here's what that means for new jobs

FILE - People leave the Walmart after shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette FILE - People leave the Walmart after shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Walmart Inc. is making Toronto one of a pair of new global tech hubs, with plans to hire hundreds of workers at the two sites.

The retail giant says it chose Canada's largest city and Atlanta, Ga. as hubs because of their growing tech sector presence and their broad and diverse local talent pools.

“We are excited to join the vibrant and diverse tech communities in Toronto and Atlanta,” said Suresh Kumar, chief technology officer and chief development officer at Walmart.

“Work from these new hubs will impact millions of lives and transform the future of retail.”

The initial hiring phase in Toronto will include 45 full-time roles in software development, technical program management and product management. Initial hiring in Atlanta is expected to include 140 new full-time roles.

Walmart says deploying the latest technology is part of a $3.5 billion investment for Canada announced in 2020 to make the online and in-store experience simpler, faster and more convenient for its customers.

The company also says that the development of this technology hub will keep homegrown tech talent in Canada.

The expansion is part of Walmart Global Tech's plan to hire more than 5,000 employees globally this fiscal year.

The addition of Toronto and Atlanta will increase the number of Walmart Global Tech hubs to 16, including Seattle and Chennai, India that launched last year. The number of global tech employees increased 26 per cent last year to 20,000.

“Canada has a dynamic and world leading tech community powered by talented people and innovation that is recognized on a global scale,” stated Nicolai Salcedo, chief technology and data officer of Walmart Canada in a news release.

Walmart's 2020 decision to spend $3.5 billion in Canada over five years came as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce trends and altered the way people shopped.

Canadians are more familiar with online shopping than they were in 2019, and retailers are expanding their offerings through capsule collections, resale agreements and other initiatives.

The aim of Walmart's Toronto tech hub investment is to keep up with these changes and boost the company's presence in Canada, the company said.

The investment also includes the renovation of 150 stores.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2022.

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