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China sets up third fund with $47.5 bln to boost semiconductor sector

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BEIJING:

China has set up its third planned state-backed investment fund to boost its semiconductor industry, with a registered capital of 344 billion yuan ($47.5 billion), according to a filing with a government-run companies registry.

The hundreds of billions of yuan invested in the sector puts into perspective President Xi Jinping's drive to achieve self-sufficiency for China in semiconductors.

That commitment has taken on renewed urgency after the US imposed a series of export control measures over the last couple of years, citing fears Beijing could use advanced chips to boost its Military capabilities.

Read: China acquired recently banned Nvidia chips in Super Micro, Dell servers, tenders show

Chinese chip shares rose, with the CES CN Semiconductor Index tab rallying more than 3% and set to log the biggest one-day gain in more than a month.

The third phase of the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund was officially established on May 24 and registered under the Beijing Municipal Administration for Market Regulation, according to the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, a government-run credit information agency.

The third phase will be the largest of the three funds launched by the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, known as the "Big Fund."

China's finance ministry is the biggest shareholder with a 17% stake and paid-in capital of 60 billion yuan, according to Tianyancha, a Chinese companies information database company. China Development Bank Capital is the second-largest shareholder with a 10.5% stake.

Read:  New US tariffs hike targets China’s semiconductors, electric vehicles

The Ministry of Finance didn't immediately reply to Reuters request for comment

Seventeen other entities are listed as investors, including five major Chinese banks: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, and Bank of Communications, with each contributing around 6% of the total capital.

Reuters reported in September that China would launch the third phase of the Big Fund.

The first phase of the fund was established in 2014 with registered capital of 138.7 billion yuan, and the second phase followed in 2019 with 204 billion yuan.

The Big Fund has provided financing to China's two biggest chip foundries, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, and Hua Hong Semiconductor, as well as to Yangtze Memory Technologies, a maker of flash memory and a number of smaller companies and funds.

One of the major areas the third phase of the fund will focus on is equipment for chip manufacturing, Reuters reported in September. Also, the Big Fund is considering hiring at least two institutions to invest the capital from the third phase.

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