Samsung Electronics has suspended business with a Chinese supplier accused of hiring child workers, after finding evidence to suggest the allegations are accurate.
Last week China Labor Watch, a rights group, published an investigative report claiming to have found five underage workers in the factory of Shinyang Electronic, a Samsung supplier in Dongguan, southern China.
The following day the New York Times published a report including an interview with three 14- and 15-year-old girls it said worked at the factory.
Samsung, the world's biggest technology company by sales, had dismissed as impossible to confirm two separate CLW allegations of child labor in its supply chain.
However, on Monday Samsung said it had conducted an investigation immediately after CLW's report last Thursday, and that the probe appeared to confirm the accusation.
As a result, "Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidence of suspected child labor at the worksite," the South Korean company said. "If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier."
Geoffrey Crothall of China Labor Bulletin, a rights group unaffiliated with CLW, said that Samsung's threat to cease business with Shinyang "doesn't really get to the fundamental issue of underage employment".
He added: "Corporations can talk all they like about commitment to corporate social responsibility, but if you look at the way they put pressure on their suppliers in terms of price and time, the ones who ultimately suffer are the workers".