Merck is Leveling Up to Drive Human Progress through Science and Tech

As humanity continues its march forward, facing new and more complex challenges every day, the need for businesses to adapt and evolve becomes ever more necessary. Those seeking a model to follow in these times can look to Merck, a global company with more than 350 years of experience engaging in scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship.

Although it has come to be known as “the company behind the companies,” Merck, through its three business sectors of electronics, life science, and healthcare, has dedicated itself over its many years of existence to human progress and to making a positive impact on people’s lives. From finding solutions to life science’s toughest problems and discovering novel treatments for the most challenging diseases, to enabling digital living for people around the world, there are few areas today that Merck’s innovative solutions have not reached.

In Taiwan, that contribution is strong evidence of the company’s deep engagement in the island’s powerhouse tech and electronics sector. Over its 30 years of operations in Taiwan, Merck has utilized its electronics materials expertise and participated in the Taiwan electronics innovation roadmap, which has led to close partnerships with local customers.

According to John Lee, managing director of Merck Taiwan, the company aims to become “the most localized multinational in Taiwan – not just in the technology, R&D, and production, but in spirit as well, as we seek to fully integrate ourselves into local society.”

To that end, Merck last December announced a major five-year, NT$17 billion investment plan in Taiwan, focusing on the semiconductor industry. Part of the company’s global €3 billion Level Up growth program, the scheme will significantly expand Merck’s electronics manufacturing and R&D presence in Taiwan.

Lee says that while the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and economies, it has also accelerated the rate of digitalization, benefiting Taiwan’s chipmakers, whose products are in high demand. Merck now has the opportunity to further integrate itself within the ecosystem driving digital transformation around the world. “We are positioning ourselves to be the last puzzle piece in the semiconductor value chain,” says Lee, noting that Level Up will enhance Merck’s capacity to provide upstream materials and specialty equipment to its chip industry customers.

Lee and his team are moving fast to put Level Up into action in Taiwan. Just two days after the initial announcement, the company held a groundbreaking ceremony for phase one of the investment, a Delivery Systems & Services (DS&S) manufacturing facility in Kaohsiung. Lee estimates that once phase two is complete, Level Up will create around 400 local jobs, cementing the company’s commitment to Taiwan and its industry. In addition, with this project, he aims to position Taiwan as Merck’s technology hub both in Asia and globally.

Merck’s contribution goes well beyond its investments, however. In the midst of one of history’s worst pandemics, it has stepped up its efforts on many different fronts, devoting time and energy to serving patients, scientists, and healthcare experts around the world. To support the development of life-saving vaccines, Merck’s life science business has provided vital components and services to more than 80 vaccine manufacturers and supplied raw data and services for over 35 different COVID-19 testing systems. In addition, the production of dozens of monoclonal antibodies, plasma products, and antiviral drugs relies on Merck’s products and expertise.

Merck Taiwan has supplemented these global efforts with its own unique initiatives, donating FFP2 masks and care packages to COVD-19 frontline fighters and collaborating with SEMI and TSMC Charity Foundation to donate zero-contact test stations to Taiwan’s hospitals. It also teamed up with the New Taipei-based Andrew Charity Association for a food drive to help families impacted by COVID-19.

As a company that cares deeply about the wellbeing of its personnel and stakeholders, Merck has taken advantage of the challenging situation posed by the pandemic to strengthen its safety protocols, ensuring a steady supply of masks and home-testing kits to its employees. Furthermore, it has instituted split-team arrangements to minimize contact between employees, as well as a daily health-reporting system. To support those working from home, Merck has provided care packages and e-vouchers.

For Lee, such actions are part and parcel of the company’s mission to contribute to human progress through scientific exploration. “For more than three centuries, Merck has been developing products for a better life, and with our new investment in Taiwan, we intend to continue doing just that.”