SHANGHAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – China stocks ended higher on Wednesday, underpinned by gains in tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext and healthcare shares, after the state planner said the country would accelerate development of coronavirus vaccines. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.17% at 3,279.71. The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.36% at 4,652.33. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.72% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index ended 1.735% higher.

** A sub-index tracking healthcare shares closed 3% higher, after the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said China will boost investment in strategic industries, including core tech sectors, while the country will also speed up development of vaccine innovation, diagnostic, testing reagents and antibody drugs.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.01%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.06%. ** At 0701 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7924 per U.S. dollar, 0.16% weaker than the previous close of 6.7818. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were EGing Photovoltaic Technology Co Ltd, up 10.11%, followed by Guangdong Guanhao High-Tech Co Ltd , gaining 10.03% and Qibu Corp Ltd, up by 10.01%.

** U.S. President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that China must be held accountable for having “unleashed” COVID-19 on the world. Beijing accused him of “lies” and abusing the U.N. platform to provoke confrontation. ** Major Chinese liquor makers fell more than the broader market, as authorities showed concerns over continued price hikes in high-end liquor products that could stoke resurgence of recreational activities using public funds. Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd, the country’s largest liquor maker fell as much as 2.7% before closing down 0.9%.