TSMC and Foxconn to buy German COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of Taiwan

What you need to know

  • TSMC and Foxconn are buying five million COVID-19 vaccines each for use in Taiwan.
  • German manufacturer BioNTech won't have to deal with Taiwan directly, potentially upsetting China.

Vaccine maker BioNTech doesn't want to upset China by dealing with the Taiwanese government.

If there's one thing that you don't want to get wrapped up in governmental red tape, it's medical aid. But that's the situation in Taiwan right now after it accused China of meddling in its efforts to get hold of COVID-19 vaccines. But the island appears to have found a way around the problem – by having two giant companies buy the vaccines for it.

China has reportedly been putting pressure on companies like German vaccine manufacturer BioNTech not to deal with the Taiwanese government. That's an accusation leveled by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen – something China denies. But according to a new Nikkei Asia report, everyone has found a way to get the vaccines onto the island without upsetting anyone.

To manage that, Apple supplier TSMC and Foxconn will both buy 5 million doses of the vaccine each before donating them to the island. It's a method that makes winners of everyone – Taiwan gets its vaccines, TSMC and Foxconn can vaccinate its people, and BioNTech doesn't have to deal with the potential Chinese fallout of selling directly to Taiwan.

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. The self-governing island, which was seen as a global role model for containing the deadly virus early on, has experienced a sudden surge in local infections since the middle of last month.

Both TSMC and Foxconn are pivotal to Apple and its product availability, so making sure no further plant closures are required is good business for everyone. Products like the upcoming iPhone 13 will require both companies to be at the top of their game, for example.

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