From The Verge: Foxconn and TSMC, two Taiwanese giants of the international tech supply chain, have agreed to buy 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the island in a move that dodges a standoff between Taipei and Beijing. The two companies will be paying up to $35 a dose of the BioNTech vaccine and donating them to the government; each company has pledged to spend $175 million.
BioNTech is partnered with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. to distribute its mRNA-based vaccine, which was co-developed with Pfizer, within China. Taiwan claims that the Chinese government blocked an attempt to secure a supply of vaccines from BioNTech, and later refused an offer of vaccine donations from the mainland. With the new arrangement, however, BioNTech and Fosun are being allowed to deal with private companies rather than the Taiwanese government, which Beijing views as illegitimate.
“Since we proposed the vaccine donation and started negotiating for the purchase, there had been no guidance or interference from Beijing over the acquisition,” Foxconn founder Terry Gou wrote on Facebook, in remarks translated by Nikkei. “We appreciate that the negotiation was allowed to go through as a business matter.”
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