Billionaire Wants to Buy BionTech Vaccine for Taiwan

Vaccination campaigns in Taiwan are moving slowly, according to German television station N-TV. According to the Taipei government, pressure from China led to the failure of negotiations with German vaccine manufacturer BionTech. Now Germany wants to mediate, however, Taiwanese billionaire Kuo has other plans.

Since some time, Taiwan has been trying to obtain the German BionTech vaccine, but to no avail. Now due to the increasing number of cases, Foxconn billionaire Kuo hopes to purchase 5 million doses of the vaccine for Taiwan from BionTech. Kuo is the founder of Apple supplier Foxconn, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electronic parts. Kuo said he wants to be able to ship the vaccine from Germany to Taiwan without an intermediary. Kuo has submitted the application to the Taiwanese government. Under public pressure, the Taiwanese government has given permission for private companies to buy the vaccine. The Taiwanese government says the application is already under review.

Meanwhile, Germany is mediating renegotiations between Taiwan and German biotech company BionTech, according to a diplomat. The German government, especially Economy Minister Altmeyer, has made great efforts to do so. “It’s up to Taiwan and BionTech to sign or not,” wrote German representative to Taiwan Thomas Prinz on Facebook. “The government is not in control.”

Recently, Taipei and Berlin talked about a deal: If the Taiwanese government gets access to the BionTech vaccine, Taiwan could supply Germany with computer chips that are currently scarce. In January, Altmeyer sought help from Taiwan in light of a serious delivery bottleneck for automotive chips. The Taiwanese government claims that negotiations between Taiwan and BionTech have so far failed under Chinese pressure. China denies this.

China sees Taiwan as part of its territory. Like many other countries, Germany has no formal relations with Taiwan. in spring 2020, China’s Fosun Pharmaceuticals signed an agreement with BionTech to develop and market BionTech’s new crown vaccine exclusively in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. But Taiwan only wants to negotiate directly with BionTech and does not trust the vaccine from China. China says the Taiwanese government violated business rules by trying to bypass Fosun and negotiate directly with the German vaccine maker.