In a move that avoids a standoff between Taipei and Beijing, Foxconn and TSMC, two Taiwanese tech behemoths, have agreed to acquire 10 million COVID-19 vaccination doses for the island. The two firms have promised to spend $175 million on the BioNTech vaccine, paying up to $35 per dose and donating them to the government.
BioNTech has teamed with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. to distribute its Pfizer-co-developed mRNA-based vaccine in China. Taiwan asserts that the Chinese government hindered an attempt to obtain vaccines from BioNTech and then turned down a mainland offer of vaccine contributions.
BioNTech and Fosun, on the other hand, will be able to negotiate with private enterprises rather than the Taiwanese government, which Beijing regards as illegitimate.
“There has been no guidance or interference from Beijing concerning the acquisition since we proposed the vaccine donation and started negotiating for the purchase,” Foxconn founder Terry Gou wrote on Facebook, in words translated by Nikkei. “We are grateful that the negotiation was permitted to proceed on a business-to-business basis.”
Foxconn is a massive contract electronics manufacturer with key clients like as HP, Dell, and Lenovo. It is best recognized for being the world’s largest iPhone assembler. TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, producing chips to specifications for companies including AMD, Apple, and Nvidia, as well as the majority of smartphone SoCs. The majority of Foxconn’s manufacturing takes place in China and other countries, but TSMC’s headquarters are in Taiwan’s Hsinchu region.
Taiwan has received widespread plaudits for its pandemic response, but it is currently undergoing an outbreak that has killed more than 700 people and accelerated vaccine demand. The government announced last week that around 3.3 million people, or little more than 14 percent of the population, had gotten one vaccine dose.
The newly secured BioNTech dosage will be sent from TSMC and Foxconn’s plants in Germany, and should begin arriving in Taiwan in late September.