Two Taiwanese high-tech companies announced a donation Monday of 10 million doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech to the island’s government.
The announcement highlights the awkward situation for Taiwan’s government. It is excluded from the World Health Organization and is uneasy about relying on China, which threatens to invade the island democracy, for medical supplies.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. and Hon Hai Precision Electronics said they were buying the vaccine through China’s Fosun Pharma, which owns the distribution rights for Greater China, which Beijing says includes Taiwan.
The mainland’s ruling Communist Party has persuaded most other governments to avoid formal relations with the island democracy. That has hampered Taiwanese attempts to obtain international aid to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
TSMC said vaccine doses would be produced in a factory in Germany and shipped directly to Taiwan’s anti-disease agency.
TSMC is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of processor chips for smartphones and computers. Hon Hai is the biggest assembler of smartphones and other electronics for Apple and other global brands. They said the Yongling Charity and Social Welfare Foundation of Hon Hai founder Terry Gou also contributed.
Taiwan has managed to largely contain the pandemic with strict quarantine requirements. It has reported 15,249 cases and 740 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker.