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Thailand inks 400,000 tablets deal with Chinese company
Publication Date : 11-05-2012
After a delay of nearly two months, the Information and Communications Technology Ministry of Thailand yesterday inked a tablet-computer supply contract with the Chinese manufacturer, with the first 2,000 devices due to arrive next week and the rest to be delivered within 60 days.
"The specs are higher than what was specified in the terms of reference. This model is being produced specifically for this project, not according to the general specs offered in the market," said ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap at the signing ceremony yesterday. He promised that the ministry's committee would thoroughly check the devices' specifications.
Present at the ceremony were ICT permanent secretary Jeerawan Boonperm; Guan Mu, the Chinese ambassador to Thailand; and Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development chairman Liu Jun.
Shenzhen Scope was one of four suppliers recommended by the Chinese government.
Thailand Post will deliver the devices, which will have software installed, to schools nationwide. Under the contract, Thailand will buy 400,000 devices for US$32.8 million, or 1.02 billion baht. A contract for the remaining 600,000 would be signed later. They would have the same price and must be delivered within 90 days from May 10.
The devices come in four colours - red, blue, silver and gold. Each costs $82, with 2GHz CPU, 1GB RAM and a 3600 mAh battery. The tablets feature the Android 4.0 operating system and built-in GPS for monitoring and tracking purposes. They also come with two-year international standard warrantee.
The signing was delayed from March, due to technical issues. At first, Shenzhen Scope failed to produce a bank guarantee. Then, there was a problem with the warranty period for the battery; while the supplier offered a one-year period, the ministry demanded two years.
To secure the contract, Shenzhen Scope came up with a 51 million baht bank guarantee, or 5 per cent of the total contract value.
Shenzhen Scope's Liu said the company was confident of delivering all the tablets to the Thai government within the timeframe specified in the contract. The company's production capacity is 30,000 units per day. It has reserved 80 per cent of its total capacity - around 24,000 units per day - for the government's One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) project. The company plans to set up around 30 service centres nationwide by the end of this year to support Thai users, Liu said.
"Our main business is to produce display monitors. Our revenue is around $1 billion. About 80 per cent of it comes from export and 20 per cent from the China market. Meanwhile, about 70 per cent is generated from producing OEM [original equipment manufacturer] models, while 30 per cent comes from our own brand, Scope. Our OEM customers include Samsung, Daewoo, JVC, Telefunken, Hyundai and Akai," Liu said.
He said the firm had 20 years experience in the OEM/ODM (original design manufacturer) service and in exporting Scope. The company can produce large lots of devices for delivery to the OTPC project. Its business ranges from LCD/LED TVs to tablet PCs and advertisement players/digital signage.
"Thailand is the first country in which we have provided large lots of tablets for students. Now we are talking with other governments to provide this kind of tablet device for students, including Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa," Liu said.
According to its website, the company is one of the top 100 manufacturers in Bao'an district of Shenzhen, China, and certified as a hi-tech enterprise. Scope's factory at Shiyan, measuring 100,000 square metres, mainly produces tablet PCs, mobile phones and GPS devices. It employs more than 1,500 people, including a professional research and development team of 60 people, with a number of patented technologies to its credit. It has seven product lines, silk-screen devices and painting workshops. Annual production capacity is more than 5 million units. Ten new product lines are being built with an estimated annual production capacity of 10 million units.