Thailand's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry has signed a contract to purchase the first batch of 400,000 computer tablets from a Chinese supplier, following a one-and-a-half-month delay.
The US$32.8 million deal with Shenzhen's Scope Scientific Development will see the first lot of 2,000 tablets delivered to the ICT ministry next week, the Bangkok Post reported Friday.
The tablets will be given to all Prathom 1, or Grade 1 students, aged 7, in both government and private schools in July, ICT minister Anudith Nakornthap said in the report. The ICT ministry will also place a new order for another 530,000 tablets after the first batch of Scope PCs passes government quality control standards, he added.
Nakornthap also said that the company must deliver all the tablets within 60 days of the contract or "face a fine for each day's delay". He declined to specify how much the daily fine is, but said it is in line with government guidelines and that any fine payment will be drawn from Scope's bank guarantee--equivalent to 5 percent of the contract value.
Scope chairman Liu Jun also said he was confident that the company will meet the government's delivery deadline as it has the capacity to produce 20,000 tablets per day.
According to the Associated Press (AP) in a report March, the Thai cabinet had delayed the decision because authorities needed more time to study the deal. AP noted that a special committee led by the education had picked the Chinese company to supply the tablets for a lowest-bid price of $81 each.
Three other Chinese companies, Huawei, TCL and Haier, had also bid for the deal. Supplying tablet computers to all schoolchildern was one of the campaign promises by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during elections last year.