TAIPEI—Taiwan is struggling with the pandemic, short on vaccines and locked in a geopolitical fight with China over access to the shot BioNTech SE co-developed with Pfizer Inc.
Now, in a twist, two of the world’s most important technology players—who also happen to be Taiwan’s two best-known homegrown companies—are stepping in to buy millions of BioNTech doses on behalf of the Taiwanese government.
BioNTech and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. , which is licensed to distribute BioNTech’s vaccine in China, said in a joint statement Sunday that they would sell 10 million shots to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. , Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. —the iPhone assembler better known as Foxconn—and a private charity controlled by Foxconn founder Terry Gou.
The vaccines, which will be purchased through a drug distributor, will then be donated to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control for local vaccination, the statement said.
The roundabout arrangement effectively ends a monthslong geopolitical impasse over whether Taiwan’s government could buy vaccines directly from Mainz, Germany-based BioNTech.