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School tablets suppliers selected

CHINA'S HAIER Group and local firm Thai Transmission Industry (TTI) won the government's e-auctions for the One Tablet Per Child scheme in zones 1 and 2 respectively, caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang announced yesterday.

As both firms offered prices that were about 30 per cent lower than the standard, Chaturon instructed the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) to study if the goods could realistically be delivered.

Chaturon's concern stems from the failure of the first-round auction winner, China's Shenzhen Yitoa Intelligent Control Co, to deliver the tablets within 90 days of the contract signing last September. The firm had also offered a price 30 per cent lower than the standard price.

Shenzhen Yitoa's Bt1.63-billion contract with Obec was terminated earlier this year, leading to the new e-auction rounds for the two zones.

They were the procurement for Zone 1 (Central and Southern regions) of 431,105 computer tablets within a budget of Bt1.172 billion for Prathom 1 students; and for Zone 2 (Northern and Northeastern regions) of 373,637 computer tablets within a budget of Bt1.016 billion for Prathom 1 students.

Haier, a Chinese electronics appliance manufacturer, offered a total price of Bt867 million, or about Bt2,011 per tablet, thereby beating competitor Supreme Distribution for the Zone 1 procurement.

In Zone 2, TTI offered a total price of Bt700 million, or about Bt1,873 per tablet, beating Supreme Distribution and Haier. The TTI price was drastically lower than the standard price of Bt2,720 per computer tablet.

Next, the e-auction committee will report the results to the Obec secretary-general to sign the contracts. Before the contracts can be signed, the Obec chief has to get approval from the education minister and the scheme's committee, Chaturon explained. He said the agency would also consider suing Shenzhen Yitoa for the price difference from the previous bidding. The company won Zone 1 with a bid of Bt867 million and Zone 2 with a bid of Bt786 million.


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