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UPDATE 2-Nvidia to expand ties with Vietnam, support AI development

(Adds context in paragraph 6, quotes from Vietnam's investment minister in paragraphs 7-8)

HANOI, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. chipmaker Nvidia's chief executive said on Monday the company will expand its partnership with Vietnam's top tech firms and support the country in training talent for developing artificial intelligence and digital infrastructure.

Nvidia, which has already invested $250 million in Vietnam, has so far partnered with leading tech companies to deploy AI in the cloud, automotive and healthcare industries, a document published by the White House in September showed when Washington upgraded diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

"Vietnam is already our partner as we have millions of clients here," Jensen Huang, Nvdia's CEO said at an event in Hanoi in his first visit to the country.

"Vietnam and Nvidia will deepen our relations, with Viettel, FPT, Vingroup, VNG being the partners Nvidia looks to expand partnership with," Huang said, adding Nvidia would support Vietnam's artificial training and infrastructure.

Reuters reported last week Nvidia was set to discuss cooperation deals on semiconductors with Vietnamese tech companies and authorities in a meeting on Monday.

Huang's visit comes at a time when Vietnam is trying to expand into chip designing and possibly chip-making as trade tensions between the United States and China create opportunities for Vietnam in the industry.

At Monday's event, Vietnam's investment minister Nguyen Chi Dzung said the country had been preparing mechanisms and incentives to attract investment projects in the semiconductor and artificial intelligence industries.

Dzung also asked Nvidia to considering setting up a research and development facility in the country following Huang's proposal to set up a base in Vietnam, after his meeting with the Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Sunday.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Sonali Paul)

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