SAMSUNG HAS HALTED PRODUCTION at one of its Chinese factories after it emerged that the owners had been hiring children.
Samsung has a zero tolerance policy regarding child labour and conducted an audit of Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co. Ltd after human rights group China Labour Watch blew the whistle.
In a statement, Samsung said, "If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier in accordance with its zero tolerance policy on child labour.
"Furthermore, Samsung will strengthen its hiring process not only at its production facilities but also at its suppliers to prevent such case from reoccurring."
It is unknown which Samsung products the closed factory produced. The company had carried out an audit as recently as 25 June, with the children allegedly hired just four days later.
Professor Mark Johnson of Warwick Business School commented, "Although Samsung have acted swiftly it has taken an activist group to bring the problem to their attention, something that is likely to damage their hard-earned reputation among customers, investors and other stakeholders."
When asked about what could be done to prevent such incidents, he added, "It would... help if they reappraised the way they assign contracts to suppliers. Moving to contracts based on relationships - which give transparency into operations - as opposed to those where price is the be-all and end-all would be a step in the right direction."
This is far from the first example of child labour abuses in the sector. During 2012 Samsung's arch-rival Apple found 106 underage workers at its Chinese operations while in 2010, Microsoft investigated one of its Chinese plants. µ