Samsung to look into child-labor claims at Chinese factory

Electronics giant Samsung, the Android manufacturer that has risen to be the top maker of cell phones worldwide, reportedly is sending a team of inspectors to investigate claims that a Chinese factory that assembles its phones and DVD players is using child labor.

New York-based China Labor Watch says in a report (PDF) released this week that its investigators believe 50 to 100 children — seven children under 16 worked in the same department as the investigators — were working at the HEG Electronics factory, and that working conditions there are “well below” those at Apple suppliers.

China Labor Watch is the same group that brought to light the poor working conditions and suicides at Foxconn Technology Group, the contractor that assembles Apple iPhones and iPads, among other devices. Since working conditions at Foxconn were exposed, the Chinese company has raised wages,  and Apple has promised more transparency over the issue. (See The Apple audit and Chinese labor: What’s next?)

A Samsung spokesman told Bloomberg that the South Korean company’s two inspections of HEG’s working conditions this year had found no “irregularities,” but that it would be sending inspectors today.

China Labor Watch said the child workers, which make up 80 percent of the factory’s workforce, are paid 70 percent of the wages of HEG’s adult workers. The group also charges the factory workers endure “harsh” conditions that include 11-hour workdays, forced overtime, strict punishments and fines and frequent injuries.

Last month, Samsung reported a $4.5 billion record quarterly profit largely driven by its popular Galaxy smartphones, which run Google‘s Android mobile operating system. Samsung is engaged in an epic patent war with its biggest rival in smartphones and tablets, Apple. The Apple-Samsung trial began last week in San Jose federal court.


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  • Joe

    Samsung needs to be careful about using child labor. I think Apple already has a patent on that.

  • lb

    Hating on Apple does not deflect from the fact of what Samsung
    is doing.

  • I feel Apple need to relax on their strangle hold of patents, it is killing competition which is what makes companies to push the boundries of creation.