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Samsung denies its Chinese suppliers use child labour, following audit

Samsung has denied claims that its suppliers in China are guilty of using child labour.

The South Korean firm said that a September audit of 105 suppliers in China, employing more than 65,000 people, found that none of them used children among their workforce.

The four-week audit was launched in response to China Labor Watch's claim that a Samsung manufacturing partner, HEG Electronics, was employing minors. Although no child labour violations were found at 105 out of the 249 suppliers that Samsung uses, it is not clear whether HEG was one of those investigated. The tech giant insists it will finish probing the remaining 144 suppliers.

The audit found "several instances of inadequate practices", including excessive overtime, labour contract issues and fines for late arrivals and absence. Samsung said it will "continue to monitor" working conditions of staff and implement measures to reduce working hours, fix contract problems and strengthen new hiring procedures to avoid child labour.

"Samsung has a zero tolerance policy on child labour violations. Although we did not identify any child labour during our audits in September, we have demanded all suppliers to adopt a new hiring process immediately, and contracts with suppliers who use child labour will be terminated," the company said in statement.

Samsung is the latest tech company to come under fire over the treatment of its staff in overseas factories.

Last month, Foxconn, which produces iPhones and iPads for Apple in China, admitted to hiring interns that are under China's legal working age. The Taiwanese manufacturing firm has also repeatedly been criticised for poor working conditions and exploitation resulting in riots and other unrest.