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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