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Tech Firms to Buy Covid-19 Vaccines on Behalf of Taiwan’s Government

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.