Taiwanese tycoon gives $100 million for prizes in fields not covered by Nobels

A Taiwanese tycoon with vast business interests in mainland China is setting up what local media are calling Asia's Nobel Prizes for outstanding achievements in natural and social sciences.

Samuel Yin announced Monday the establishment of the Tang Prize Foundation with an initial endowment of 3 billion New Taiwan dollars ($103 million). The 618-907 A.D. Tang Dynasty is widely revered by Chinese everywhere.

The prizes will be awarded every other year to international leaders in biopharmaceutical science, sustainable development, the study of China and the rule of law. The 118-year-old Nobel Prize does not cover those fields.

The prizes will be awarded starting next year. Winners will receive NT$50 million ($1.7 million).

Yin heads the Ruentex Financial Group and holds an estimated NT$100 billion in assets.