07 September 2000 | Liam O'Brien
The Hong Kong government's supplies department has succeeded in converting more than 70 per cent of its low-value tenders to electronic trading within four months of introducing an e-commerce initiative.
Its electronic tendering system (ETS) was brought into operation on 7 April for tenders below £900,000. By the end of July, the system had attracted 269 subscribers and 338 tenders, worth £43 million.
These account for 72 per cent of the total tenders issued within that price range and represent 79 per cent of total spending on tenders, said Nigel Shipman, director of government supply in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
He added: "In Hong Kong, the rate of take-up is dependent on supplier acceptance, as we will be offering a choice between the existing system of depositing a paper tender in a tender box and submitting the offer electronically."
Shipman is satisfied with the technical aspects of the system, including the security features. Of the 338 tenders, only two files were contaminated by viruses, which were detected and cleansed.
"There is a need to build up supplier confidence in the ETS," Shipman said. "Accordingly, our staff have visited many of the regular tenderers to explain the system to them. Many suppliers have found the need to redesign their business processes for the submission of tenders."
In the UK, the Office of Government Commerce is to start electronic tendering pilot projects in the autumn.