South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in the U.S. this week. And while his travel plans largely revolve around the UN General Assembly, Korean media report Moon’s itinerary also includes a meeting with Albert Bourlar, the CEO of Pfizer. That would be one of the world’s top suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines.
Back in May, Moon and U.S. President Biden reached a joint vaccine development agreement between the two countries. One that’s expected to be detailed this week, following a singing ceremony which Moon will attend. Either way, the partnership is at the heart of a $2-billion investment plan meant to position South Korea as Asia’s largest vaccine production hub.
South Korea wants to become Asia’s top vaccine production hub
Unsurprisingly, Samsung is meant to play an integral role in this R&D push. And in this instance, “Samsung” refers to Samsung Biologics, a Songdo, Incheon-based biotechnology unit of Samsung Group. The Korean side of the deal also includes the manufacturing capabilities of SK Bioscience, as per today’s report.
Apart from vaccine production, the chaebol has also been involved in combating the global pandemic on other fronts. For example, it was only last month that it introduced a way for Samsung Pay users to store their digital vaccine credentials on their devices. The feature, developed alongside the Commons Project Foundation, started rolling out globally in early September.
But in order to take advantage of it, you first have to become a CommonHealth user. And judging by the latter’s abysmal Play Store reviews, many are still struggling with getting it to work.