The government of Canada has awarded a $6.8 million contract to a state-owned Chinese company to supply security equipment for 170 embassies and high commission around the globe.
The contract, conveyor-style X-ray machines, was awarded to Nuctech Company, owned by Hu Jintao, son of the former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
Nuctech is well known for being a giant in airport security system that supplies -ray machines, scanners and explosive detection systems to airports and customs offices in 160 countries.
With the company’s airport body scanner which thermal imaging camera with features that can detect high body temperature, there a high prospect of it becoming a future success.
Given the recent security system upgrade Global Affairs Canada is undertaking, walk-through metal detectors, X-ray machines, and bullet resistant windows and doors were put out to tender through department of Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Nuctech and California-based Rapiscan Systems won two contracts after they submitted their bids as requested last year December.
At the time, security companies were invited and were asked to submit separate or joint bids, for the metal detectors and X-ray machines with a condition clearly stated that company with lowest-bid would stand the chance of winning the contract.
The metal detectors contract was won by the California-based Rapiscan Systems while Nuctech won the X-ray contract.
Nuctech X-ray contract includes delivery, installation, operator training and software, and the machine would be a stand-alone function as it would not be connected to any embassies network, according to a security industry source.
The source further said that with the contract being executed by Nuctech, it means “significant pieces of Chinese technology sitting in every embassy.”
Critics of Nuctech have found faults with the company in the past on several allegations over the way it conducts its business.
It has been alleged in the past for offering soft loan and illegal dumping that implies engaging in controversial businesses in countries such as Asia, Africa and Europe.
They also criticized the company’s low bidding system that gives it competitive advantages over its Western counterparts.
According to a former Canadian ambassador in Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, reciprocity is the tool the government needs to deal with China, referring to an allegation that China would not allow Canadians to install security system in China embassies.
Saint-Jacques therefore warned government to rethink it bids-based contract award method and use other parameters instead to avoid vulnerability that always comes with bidding process.