Taiwan Newsletter Issue 145

Headline News


U.K. Minister of State supports Taiwan


Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the United Kingdom's Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, has expressed support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations.


“We support Taiwan's participation in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite, and Taiwan can make a valuable contribution. We remain very clear, with our like-minded partners, that Taiwan's contribution to those organizations is important and that it has a vital role to play,” Lord Ahmad said in a statement on Feb. 10 in the House of Lords.


Support for Taiwan's participation in the two U.N. specialized agencies, especially the WHO, have been strong recently in the international community due to the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide. The United States, Japan and Australia, as well as the European Union, have voiced support for Taiwan.


Taiwan has recorded 30 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and one death as of today.


Taiwan successfully synthesizes remdesivir


Research teams from Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes (NRHI) and from Academic Sinica have successfully completed the synthesis of over 100 milligrams of remdesivir at a 97 percent level of purity.


Remdesivir, an experimental medication that has shown promise in fighting the novel coronavirus, is a novel antiviral drug developed by American biopharmaceutical Gilead Sciences, as a treatment for Ebola disease and Marbug virus infections.


In addition, Taiwan’s Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (MVC) teams up with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a new vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus and related biological materials developed by NIH to carry out follow-up animal experiments and clinical trials in Taiwan. MVC has cooperated with the NHI since 2015 on developing vaccines, including one for dengue fever.


Diagnostic test receives EU approval


A clinical test developed by

Taiwanese biotech company Bio Preventive Medicine Corp. received approval for sale in the European Union, indicating that it complies with EU safety requirements.


The test, named DNLite-IVD103, predicts a patient’s risk of diabetic kidney disease and is the first in-vitro diagnostic product (IVD) that can accurately detect the risk of diabetic kidney disease, the company stated.


Economy & Society


Apple moving production from China to Taiwan


As the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread in China and seriously affecting the production of Apple products, Apple is trying to diversify its supply chain geographically.


According to media reports, Apple is shifting manufacturing from China to Taiwan of some of its top gadgets set to launch in the first half of 2020, including AirPods Pro Lite, iPads and Apple Watches.


Apple intends to gradually increase the proportion of production in Taiwan while still trying to maintain its cooperation with suppliers in China.

Foxconn to develop electric cars with Yulon

Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn Technology and local carmaker Yulon Group have formed a joint venture to manufacture electric cars.


Yulon was founded in the 1950s and has manufactured Nissan and Mitsubishi cars as well as its own brand Luxgen, with a market share in Taiwan only surpassed by Toyota.


The new joint venture, which has not received a name yet, includes a 51-percent share of NT$8 billion (US$266 million) from Foxconn and a 49-percent worth more than NT$7.6 billion from Yulon.


Foxconn already has a project planning electric cars with the Italian-American Fiat-Chrysler group (FCA).


TSMC’s bonus

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) decided to pay a 2019 bonus of NT$1 million (US$33,298) on average to each of its employees in recognition of their efforts last year to help the company remain profitable, to be paid to the company's 45,000 employees in July.