Foxconn Founder Hopes To Import BioNTech COVID Snapshots For Taiwan
Foxconn Technology Group founder and president Terry Gou speaks at a press conference after his trip to the United States, in Taipei, Taiwan on May 6, 2019. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu
Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major supplier to Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Foxconn, said on Saturday his charity plans to seek the import of 5 million doses of BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine (22UAy. DE) in Taiwan, which is tackling a peak infection problem.
After recording only a handful of daily infections for months, Taiwan is currently facing a relatively large number of community transmissions. It has only vaccinated about 1% of its over 23 million people, although it has nearly 30 million vaccines on order, sourced from AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L), Moderna Inc (MRNA .O) and two national companies.
The island claimed by China has blamed Beijing for making a deal earlier this year for BioNTech vaccines, which China denies. Faced with pressure from opposition parties, the government says it will allow companies to ask it to import vaccines.
In a statement, Gou said his Yonglin Foundation plans to request the import of 5 million doses of BioNTech manufactured and packaged in Germany to Taiwan.
The shots would be airlifted from Germany to Taiwan without going through any intermediary, he added.
“This plan is underway,” Gou said.
BioNTech did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but repeatedly declined to comment on the status of talks with Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center said shortly before Gou’s statement was released that it welcomed any offer of help from charities or religious groups, but it was up to the central government to sign the vaccine contracts and to distribute vaccines.
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd (600196.SS) has a contract with BioNTech to sell the vaccines in Greater China, including Taiwan, but the Taiwan government says it only has and will deal with BioNTech in Germany, and that he doesn’t trust vaccines from China.
Outside of Greater China, BioNTech has partnered with Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N).
China claims Taiwan went against commercial principles by seeking to bypass Fosun and go directly to BioNTech.
Gou said his charity will not import vaccines made in China.
“Please don’t confuse the German-made BioNTech (injections) with the Chinese-made vaccine.”
Taiwan has reported 7,806 infections since the start of the pandemic, including 99 deaths.