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China stocks begin new quarter on firm note, tech firms lead

* SSEC +0.2 pct, CSI300 +0.1 pct

* Hong Kong stock market closed for Easter holiday

* FTSE China A50 -0.2 pct, BNY Mellon ADR China Select Index

+1.8 pct

SHANGHAI, April 2 (Reuters) - China stocks kicked off the second quarter on Monday with modest gains, led by tech firms as Beijing pledged more support for emerging industries, and after data showed the country's factory growth in March was stronger than expected.

** At 0404 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.18 percent at 3,174.47, while China's blue-chip CSI300 index climbed 0.12 percent to 3,903.19.

** Hong Kong stock market was closed on Monday for Easter holiday.

** Gains were led by high-tech firms on the mainland, with the

tech-heavy start-up board ChiNextP touching a

five-month high, as China vowed more support for high-tech sectors amid trade tensions with the United States.

** China's finance ministry said on Friday it has introduced tax breaks for chipmakers made in the country, at a time when the government is seeking to reduce dependence on foreign semiconductors amid trade tensions with the United States over technology transfers.

** In a move aimed at promoting innovation and aiding China's economic restructuring, a pilot scheme was announced to encourage tech, bio-tech and high-end manufacturing firms to list their shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

** "We need to grasp the historic (investment) opportunities in leading tech firms, as the pilot scheme is a landmark move that kicks off the monetization process of China's R&D," China Merchants Securities wrote in a note.

** Sentiment was also upbeat after data showed growth in China's manufacturing sector picked up more than expected in March.

** The official PMI data suggests that China's economy has carried more momentum into the first quarter from last year than analysts had expected, which should keep synchronised global growth on track for a while longer even as trade tensions build.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.19 percent, while Japan's Nikkei

index was up 0.47 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.2797 per U.S. dollar,

0.08 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.2745.

** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite

index were Neusoft Corp , which gained 10.01 percent,

followed by China National Software & Service Co Ltd , which jumped 9.14 percent and Shanghai Wanye

Enterprises Co Ltd that climbed 8.55 percent.

** The largest percentage decliners in the Shanghai index were

Taiyuan Lionhead Cement Co Ltd , which plunged 10

percent, followed by Shanghai Sanmao Enterprise Group Co Ltd , which lost 5.63 percent and Sinomach Automobile Co

Ltd that slipped 5.33 percent.

(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)