Taiwan firms, Fosun reach COVID-19 vaccine deal

Taiwanese tech giants Foxconn and TSMC will each donate 5 million doses of Germany's BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine to local government.

Taiwanese tech giants Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced on Monday they will each donate 5 million doses of Germany's BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine to local government in a deal with a Chinese mainland distributor.

Taiwan has been trying to secure Pfizer-BioNTech direct from Germany but Shanghai-based Fosun Pharma has the distribution rights for China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Fosun has made it clear that it is willing to provide the vaccines to Taiwan compatriots, but the Democratic Progressive Party authority did not approve negotiations for purchase until late June.

Fosun issued a statement late on Sunday saying it had signed a deal with the Taiwanese firms to sell 10 million shots of the mRNA vaccine, to be donated to "disease control institutions in the Taiwan region."

Foxconn and TSMC, the world's largest contract electronics and chip makers respectively, said they will spend US$175 million each on the vaccines.

"My team and I feel the public anxiety and expectations on the vaccines and we are relieved to give the public an answer that relevant contracts have been signed," Foxconn founder Terry Gou said in a post on his Facebook page.

"During the negotiation period after my donation was proposed, there was no guidance or interference from the authorities in the mainland on the vaccine procurement process," he added in the post.

Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, has said cites, counties, non-governmental institutions and enterprises on the island, which are willing to buy the vaccines, can negotiate purchase in accordance with business rules.

TSMC and Foxconn, both major Apple Inc suppliers, said in a joint statement the first BioNTech vaccines were not expected to arrive until late September at the earliest, shipped directly from Germany, but did not say how many would come at first.

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