Watchdog: Samsung's China factory employs child labor

Watchdog: Samsung's China factory employs child labor

Summary: Chinese factory assembling products for Samsung violates local labor laws by hiring underaged workers who are paid 70 percent lesser than formal employees, says watchdog China Labor Watch.


A Chinese factory which assembles products for Samsung Electronics has been hiring underaged workers, thus violating Chinese labor laws, according to China Labor Watch.

In a statement Tuesday, the watchdog released findings of its investigation of Huizhou-based factory HEG Electronics. During the investigation, China Labor Watch found seven workers who were under the age of 16 and believed that more of such underaged workers are hired in other departments.

HEG Electronics builds products such as mobile phones, DVDs, stereo equipment and MP3 players for Samsung, the report said, adding that Motorola and LG are also customers of the supplier.

The report noted that the employment of student laborers increases during the summer and winter vacations and can reach up to 80 percent of the total workforce in the factory. The usual proportion of underaged workers is 60 percent at regular times.

Child workers work under the same conditions as adults but were paid only 70 percent of the wages, it added.

China Labor Watch said the employment of child laborer could be due to HEG's slack internal supervision by not checking the IDs of the students they employed. Some schools were also supplying student workers to the factory and provided them false IDs, it added.

In a statement to ZDNet Asia, Samsung denied the charges: "Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions. Given the report, we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface."

China Labor Watch has published other reports such as investigations of labor rights violations by Apple's suppliers.

Topics: IT Employment, Legal, Tech Industry

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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  • Waiting for the haters ....

    Now that the great Korean company is actually WORST than the US company they hate.
    • Isn't competition grand?

      That depends - who owns the most patents to troll with?

      I've little sympathy for the game...
  • Waiting for the haters ....

    Now that the great Korean company is actually WORST than the US company they hate.

    Are they going to call for a ban on the company? Or is it going to be the usual double standard.
  • Oh no!

    Oh no! Does this mean that my Motorola phone, LG smart TV, and Samsung galaxy s3 were manufactured by the poor little kids who should be attending classes instead of working as laborers in those factories? I saw the video of Chinese workers who work for Apple and they seem to look like happy and normal professional workers. HEG Electronics should emulate that company.
    • Apple has factories there?

      I know they subcontract to Foxconn, which has factories there...

      And I'm sure some of those smiles, as suggested by the multitudes of articles that tell of forced parades, suicides, safety nets around buildings, etc, tell a story that isn't as pretty as the one you're trying to pawn off.

      What you saw was propaganda. Maybe the opposite of the usual propaganda that the rest of us know about, but it's propaganda nonetheless.

      The truth is in the middle.
  • Now we wait

    For the hordes of people who trashed Apple for the issues at Foxconn to chime in and say that this is different, that Samsung has nothing to do with this, that Samsung does not affect policies at the plant that assembles their products... I have a feeling we'll be waiting a while.
    • All I hear is crickets

      If you just substituted "Samsung" with "Apple" in the story this thread would be 250 posts deep in bashing by now.
  • Say It Ain't So!

    I thought Apple was the undisputed king of child labor enslavery (this decade); not the darling Samsung. Next we'll find out that the built-in Android spy-wear was coded in China! What's next?
    • It was... but you forgot to mention...

      That built-in Android spy-wear was actually coded by chinese slave children.
  • Not the first, not the last

    Walt Disney and Ericsson beat Apple and others by at least a decade. I've also heard this happened a few thousand years ago too.
    • Well, humans evolved since a few thousand years ago, too

      If you want to devolve and let your kids be slaves, that's your choice.

      Don't devolve the rest of the developed countries thanks to your hubris, greed, insensitivity, and callousness.

      Sorry to be blunt.
  • did you read the post

    schools were giveing the kids fake id .i am shure parents were involed too.and yes the company has to make shure of the age of thier employees.but this is china not the us.they are trying to feed thier familys not but clothes or ipod
    • Surely not?

      The Company wants to make a profit. If it has to drive down wages, employ child labor, make a pact with every devil and other vile deity ever coined, it will probably do it.

      That's a tad glib, but it's no worse than the other side of the coin that discusses only supply-side elements and presumes the demand side magically grows its money from trees...
  • So does Apple's subcontractors

    Maybe they changed, or maybe they changed ways to hide it.

    If everyone is upset about child labor, throw in some regulations... until everyone whines about how regulations hurt profitability.