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BEIJING (Reuters) - China is looking for billions of dollars in funds to propel its domestic ambitions in chips to cut a heavy reliance on imports, and has invited overseas investors to help it get there.

FILE PHOTO: A researcher plants a semiconductor on an interface board which is placed under a microscope during a research work to design and develop a semiconductor product at Tsinghua Unigroup research centre in Beijing, China February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

The country’s industry ministry said on Wednesday that it welcomed foreign enterprises to invest in its top state-backed semiconductor fund, even as tensions simmer over tech transfers between China and the United States.

China is looking to accelerate plans to develop its domestic semiconductor market amid a fierce trade stand-off with the United States and a recent ban on U.S. sales, including of American chips, to domestic phone maker ZTE Corp.

China’s National Integrated Circuit Investment Fund is now putting together a second fund to support the sector, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology official said.

“We welcome foreign enterprises to participate,” the official said at a press conference in Beijing.

Officials have previously said that the state-backed chip fund is open to investing in foreign semiconductor firms in China, though major projects have so far been local.

The fund, which raised about 140 billion yuan ($22.15 billion) previously, has been a target for U.S. politicians concerned that Chinese firms, flush with state money, could challenge U.S. chip giants like Qualcomm Corp for whom China is a key market.

The United States Trade Representative directly referenced China’s ambitious semiconductor roadmap, which includes national funding, in a trade report that authorized U.S. President Donald Trump to levy up to $100 billion in tariffs against the

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currensceneFLOGO WHTsquareThough not the oldest form of currency, some form of shell money appears to have been found on almost every continent. The shell most widely used worldwide as currency was the shell of Cypraea moneta, the money cowry.

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