TAIPEI — Taiwan grapples with pandemic, short of vaccines and locked in a geopolitical fight with China for access to shooting BioNTech SE co-developed with Pfizer Inc.
Now, in a twist, two of the world’s biggest tech players – who also happen to be Taiwan’s two best-known local companies – are stepping in to buy millions of BioNTech doses on behalf of the Taiwanese government.
BioNTech and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., which holds a license to distribute BioNTech’s vaccine in China, announced in a joint statement on Sunday that they would sell 10 million doses to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the better known iPhone assembler. as Foxconn – and a private charity controlled by Foxconn founder Terry Gou.
The vaccines, which will be purchased through a drug distributor, will then be donated to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control for local vaccination, the statement said. TSMC and Foxconn said on Monday that the total value of the donation, split between the two companies and Mr. Gou’s charity, was around $ 350 million, covering the cost of vaccines, transportation and insurance. The first batch of doses will be delivered by the end of September, they said.
The backdoor arrangement effectively ends a months-long geopolitical standoff over whether the Taiwanese government could buy vaccines directly from BioNTech, a German company based in Mainz.