Apple suppliers TSMC and Foxconn are looking to purchase millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines for Taiwan. The two companies will buy the vaccines, then donate them to the government, for distribution to Taiwanese citizens.
The arrangement, which sees the Taiwanese government authorizing private companies to buy vaccines on behalf of the country, is designed to avoid Chinese interference.
As reported by 9to5Mac, while Taiwan was successful in the early days of the pandemic in keeping the coronavirus at bay by using a combination of travel restrictions and a contact tracing program. However, the country is now experiencing a rise in infections and is working to implement a mass vaccination program.
This has proven to be an issue, as the Chinese government has reportedly been working to block vaccine purchases. (China considers Taiwan to be a Chinese possession rather than an independent country.)
Beijing, suggested Taiwan’s health minister, had used political pressure to derail Taiwan’s plan to purchase five million doses directly from Germany’s BioNTech SE, rather than via a Chinese company which held the rights to develop and market the BioNTech-Pfizer Inc. vaccine across China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
This means that other nations, multinational companies, and others are fearful to offend China, thereby putting their relationship with the communist country at risk.
Nikkei Asia reports on the initiative.
Taiwan will allow Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Foxconn to buy 10 million doses of COVID vaccines on behalf of the government, as companies race to safeguard the island’s flagship tech industry from the pandemic.
It is the first time private companies in Taiwan will be given permission to purchase vaccines, a move that comes as the government struggles to quickly inoculate people […]
“Both TSMC and Foxconn’s Yonglin Foundation proposed to donate 5 million [BioNtech] vaccine doses to Taiwan,” government spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng told a news conference on Friday. BioNtech is a German pharmaceutical company.
To avoid “potential hurdles” they might encounter as private companies, the government will issue formal notices authorizing TSMC and Yonglin to negotiate with BioNtech on behalf of Taiwan to buy 5 million vaccines each, Lo said.