Hong Kong’s competition watchdog takes IT firm to court over bid for Ocean Park contract

Kanis Leung

Hong Kong’s antitrust watchdog has accused an IT company and its director of colluding with another business when bidding for a project at Ocean Park.

The Competition Commission said on Wednesday it had started legal proceedings against Quantr and its director Peter Cheung Man-kit, and has accused the firm and its co-bidder, which it did not name, of exchanging sensitive information related to their intended quotations to coordinate who would win the contract for IT software services for the theme park.

It said the case was discovered after the co-bidder came forward and asked the commission for leniency. The commission agreed to not take action against the co-bidder or its employees in exchange for their cooperation with the investigation.

“These are the commission’s first enforcement proceedings resulting from a successful leniency application, which is an important enforcement milestone,” Brent Snyder, the commission’s CEO, said in a statement.

The bid at the centre of the legal proceedings concerned an IT contract at Ocean Park. Photo: Sam Tsang

The case was the fifth filed by the watchdog at the Competition Tribunal since antitrust regulations came into effect in December 2015. Last year, it won its first two cases.

Commission documents revealed that a former employee of the software’s original supplier Nintex Proprietary had directed the firm’s two resellers – Quantr and the whistle-blowing company – to communicate with each other before submitting their bids to Ocean Park in 2017.

The two resellers followed the suggestion and eventually Quantr won the bid, it said, without disclosing the amount of money involved.

After an investigation, the regulator noted the management of Nintex did not know about the conduct of its former worker beforehand.

It said it had offered Nintex an opportunity to resolve the matter by accepting an infringement notice. Agreeing and committing to take steps in strengthening its competition compliance programme, the firm then was spared court proceedings.

The watchdog said a similar offer was made to Quantr, but it rejected the deal.

“The outcome is likely to be litigated proceedings before the Competition Tribunal,” Snyder said.

The Post has asked Ocean Park for comment.

This article Hong Kong’s competition watchdog takes IT firm to court over bid for Ocean Park contract first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.