Taiwan’s Foxconn, TSMC Confirm $ 350 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Deal

TAIPEI – Taiwan’s Foxconn and TSMC said on Monday they had reached deals to purchase 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Germany’s BioNTech SE, bringing the total cost of the highly politicized deal to around 350 million. dollars.

The government of Taiwan has tried for months to buy the vaccine directly from BioNTech and accused China, which claims the autonomous island as its own territory, of rescinding a deal the two sides were expected to sign earlier this year. . China denies the charges.

Last month, amid public pressure over Taiwan’s slow inoculation program, the government agreed to allow Foxconn founder Terry Gou as well as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to negotiate in its name for vaccines.

BioNTech’s Chinese sales agent Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. said on Sunday that an agreement had been signed, although no details on the delivery time had yet been revealed.

Gou wrote on his Facebook page that he was “satisfied” that the deal has been reached, which will see Foxconn and TSMC each purchase 5 million doses, which will be given to the government for distribution.

“But we cannot relax, because we will continue to work hard to put pressure on the time and quantity of delivery,” he said, adding that the vaccines will come directly from Germany.

“However, this batch of vaccines delivered directly from the German factory, I believe, will help Taiwanese society gain confidence and provide respite from the epidemic.”

TSMC and Foxconn are the main suppliers of Apple Inc.

The Taiwanese government said it would comment later on Monday.

Gou said Beijing did not interfere in the talks.

“During the negotiation period after my donation was offered, there was no guidance or interference from the Beijing authorities on the mainland on the vaccine procurement process.”

A person familiar with the negotiations said the first batch of the vaccine is due in September at the earliest, but it was not immediately clear how many doses could be delivered.

The German company is yet to comment, and Fosun deleted an earlier statement from its WeChat account citing BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin as saying the company was “very grateful” for being able to supply the vaccine to Taiwan.

Fosun did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why those comments were deleted.

The BioNTech vaccine drama has swept through Taiwan and made headlines. A major Taiwanese Buddhist group, the Tzu Chi Foundation, is also trying to buy the photos.

Taiwan has ordered millions of vaccines, mostly from AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc., while the United States and Japan have donated nearly five million doses to the island to help speed up vaccinations.

The person close to the talks said TSMC’s involvement and unconditional donations of US and Japanese vaccines created a favorable global environment for Taiwan and made it difficult for China to hamper the deal.

About a tenth of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two-shot regimens, although Taiwan’s own relatively small domestic coronavirus outbreak is now largely under control.