Portugal applies to join China-backed AIIB investment bank

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Portugal has applied to be a founding member of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), according to a statement from China's Ministry of Finance late on Wednesday.

Over 40 countries have applied to join the AIIB, with the United States and Japan as notable absentees.

The AIIB is viewed as a challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, both of which are organisations where the United States exerts considerable influence.

Portugal, Iceland, Hungary and Israel are among the most recent applicants from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to seek to join the AIIB.