back to article Samsung: We can't find any child labour at our Chinese contractor

Samsung insists there were no child workers at the factory of its supplier HEG - and that student interns at the plant were above board because they were over the age of 16. Samsung audited the HEG site after China Labour Watch published a report alleging it had found seven children under the age of 16 working in one …


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  1. Shagbag

    For real?

    Take the blindfold off then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Were they

      WearIng Zaphod Beeblebrox's dark sunglasses?

    2. WatAWorld

      Re: For real?

      Child labour in the USA.

      34% of 16 year-old residents of the USA are child labour too. I think that includes a lot of middle-class suburban kids.

      Here in Canada we don't even track child labour. I've just spent 20 minutes and all I can find is that our labour statistics go age 15 to 24.

      I don't think the issue is the presence of people age 16 and 17 in a work place, that is common enough. The issue is, IF they are in school, are they working more than 12 hours a week? That would be a problem in Canada or the USA.

      1. SJRulez

        Re: For real?

        Not to mention they have the biggest slave (sorry meant prison) labor force in the world!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every factory in China uses child labour

    Since when is this news ?

    Besides, all patents, copyright et al vanishes once you move production to China ... designs to the Xerox.

    1. Oliver Mayes

      Re: Every factory in China uses child labour

      "Besides, all patents, copyright et al vanishes once you move production to China ... designs to the Xerox."

      Don't you mean to the Zerocks(TM)?

    2. WatAWorld

      My dad worked in a UK factory at age 17.

      My dad worked in a UK factory at age 17.

  3. Wang N Staines

    Samsung is a big corporation, thus evil.

    Apple is a big corporation, thus evil.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please stop.

    Using "Sammy" for "Samsung' is really irritating. Stop, okay?

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Please stop.

      Just be thankful they didn't use "Sammy" and "mobe" in the same sentence. Oh wait, I just did.

      <--- And this happened.

    2. Peter Storm

      Re: Please stop.

      I'll second that, it's getting bloody irritating.

      How about "the maker of knock-off iphones" instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please stop.

        "How about "the maker of knock-off iphones" instead."

        Rounded corners: Check!

        Rectangular shape: Check!

        Child labour: Check!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How about "the maker of knock-off iphones"

          This is a UK website, and a UK court has ruled that Samsung didn't copy Apple. Good sense prevails in at least some places, for now.

    3. rvt

      Re: Please stop.

      The Register is allowed to use Sammy. If you don't like it, don't read The Register.

      On Topic, as what I read, Sammy is just as bad as Apple

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please stop.

      Actually, I think 'Sammy' is printed on those Samsung knock offs that are sold in China.

  5. Steve Foster


    I guess the inspectors didn't look up the chimneys then...

  6. Ragequit

    Misleading headlines are misleading.

    Sure there may be a cover up my samsung, HEG, or both. But I honestly think working conditions are more of a concern than age. Everything in this article is vague as well. Under 16? Did seven teenagers lie about being 15 so they could make money? Or are we talking pre-teens? Don't get me wrong age can certainly be a problem. But unsafe working conditions, inhumane work hours, and unfair policies are more damning imo.

    That said I know that China doesn't exactly have a good track record here, but lets not lose sight of what's important out of a desire to paint Samsung in a certain light because it's topical. But the law is the law right? And we can't be falling from our moral high ground while consuming goods made in china now can we? Yes, I'm teasing.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very dull headline

    No nickname for Samsung? Why not HEG Rebadger? Slush-funding, Tax-evader?

    Or how about Plucky Underdog Samsung?

    After all, you have to admire the scrappy fighting spirit of a company who's merely the world's largest IT company by 2011 revenue, the second-largest shipbuilder measured by 2010 revenue, 35th- and 72nd-largest construction companies, 14th-largest life insurance company, 19th-largest advertising agency measured by 2010 revenue, and, had it been a country, in 2006, the world's 35th-largest economy.

    You don't get to battle your way up from nothing like that by paying taxes, handing out a living wage, or employing designers to come up with original ideas.

    Whoops – perhaps I should watch my words, given that they also have a weapons division.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Very dull headline

      Nope you get to be that big by the US losing (sort of) a war in your country and installing a military dictatorship who decides that there must be industry to make the country independent of it's commie neighbours.

      And that company should be owned by some friends of his.

      And the laws shouldn't apply to them.

      Even today, if you ever have to deal with Samsung, they make the Russian mafia look like Apple.

  8. ZenCoder

    So where are the children working now?

    I wonder if social / economic conditions are forcing these kids to work and if instead of protecting them, they are instead being are merely denying access to better and safer jobs, and they are now forced to work at a coal mine.

    Are these local manager factories the bad guys, hiring underage labor to save a buck, or are they just trying to some hungry kid a break in life?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So where are the children working now?

      Yeah seems likely that they are doing it for "the good of the kids". Jeepers talk about cults of the Jobsian variety with rose tints on and everything

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We can't find any child labour at our Chinese contractor...

    ...reported the inspectors however they did say later that the view over the side of their prams only allowed them to see adults. Their request to conduct a further inspection in pushchairs was rejected.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    of an android phone manufacturer!

    On The Holy Reg!


  11. Flashy Red

    They're all at it!

    'nuff said.

  12. nuked

    Let's be clear.

    "We could find no evidence of..."

    is not

    "There is none of..."

    and, probably means

    "We've removed the evidence of..."

    1. Snafu 2

      Re: Let's be clear.

      Umm.. more like 'We've ignored the evidece of.. just like everyone else in our busiiness (& others)'

      ..except of course for the evidence that doesn't even get to the witchunters (oops, evidence-finders) due to the large wads of cash appearing in assorted ways in the evidence-finders' pockets.. or EFs going 'missing' or arrested

  13. Charles Manning

    What's wrong with a bit of work?

    I live in the West and I worked part time from age 13 or so. All the farm kids I grew up with earned a small wage for some real work all through their teens.

    In the Third world rural kids work (tending cattle, digging, ...) from age five or so. They walk bloody miles, often alone.

    But when they're in a factory making cell phones they have to be 18?

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: What's wrong with a bit of work?

      Obviously the editor of the reg and the author of this article are upper class "Toffs" (I believe is the word) and didn't have to work until after they graduated from Oxbridge with their Masters of Arts degrees.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vote with your wallet

    The best way to stop Chinese slave and under-age labor is to not buy any products produced by these slave camps.

    1. Snafu 2

      Re: Vote with your wallet

      You'll be hard-pressed to find almost any 'western' electronic device not using some chinese part. Fridge, TV (of course), batttery charger for your mobile.. oops, mobile itself.. etc etc

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    You shouldn't employ workers under 18 on your production line.

    You should get them for free on YTS.

    Over 18s you should get for free as a 6month unpaid training period or they have their benefit stopped

    1. Mark .

      Re: Shocking

      Re the last one - so the Government should pay money so that private companies get people to work for free? Instead of having people work for "benefits", why not give them a *job* doing that same work.

      Also consider the circular effect where private companies can use this unpaid labour for their work instead of having to employ people, causing more people to be out of work, causing unemployment to go up, welfare costs to go up, with no one but the private companies gaining.

  16. toadwarrior

    All you electronics involve companies with little to no morals. Why should anyone be surprised?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's good they apparently don't have child labour

    I hear apple has a patent on that.

  18. Synja

    Child labor is not the evil in these countries.

    We *have* to stop judging Chinese companies/workers with the same standards that we judge US or UK entities. The children are working because they have to work to support their families. If they weren't making your iPhone, flatscreen, or whatever other devices come out of this factory, they would be at a different factory, or even worse... they'd be out in the fields or harvesting sulfur; neither of which pays nearly as well, or is nearly as safe. Sweatshops are a positive *within* those specific environments.

    Daniel Griswold of the Cato Institute testimony to some US Senate panel:

    Attempts to "enforce" labor and environmental standards through trade sanctions are not only unnecessary but also counterproductive. Sanctions deprive poor countries of the international trade and investment opportunities they need to raise overall living standards. Sanctions tend to strike at the very export industries in less developed countries that typically pay the highest wages and follow the highest standards, forcing production and employment into less-globalized sectors where wages and standards are almost always lower. The end result of sanctions is the very opposite of what their advocates claim to seek.

    I can post thousands of legitimate studies from legitimate journals and sources, but until we stop reacting with emotions and start using logic and reason, there does not seem to be a point.

    "Vote with your wallet" is the *worst* thing you can do to stop child labor.

    1. WatAWorld

      In the USA 34% of 16 year olds work

      "We *have* to stop judging Chinese companies/workers with the same standards that we judge US or UK entities."

      It isn't just that. Remember, having workers under age 18 is not unusual in the USA or UK or Canada. I don't know about the UK, but in the USA it is over 34% of 16 year-olds work, and that climbs every year.

      What would be unusual would be, IF they are still in school, having them work more than 12 hours a week, or having them work in a hazardous area, like a mine or iron foundry.

  19. WatAWorld

    It isn't as if you can't get a job in Canada, the USA and UK at age 17.

    I'm impressed, in the USA interns in industries and businesses are usually unpaid.

    It isn't as if you can't get a job in Canada, the USA and UK at age 16 or 17.

    This China Labour Watch needs to be more specific in order to give us useful information.

    1. How many hours per week are these 16 and 17 year-olds working?

    First world countries permit people under age 18 working. The key thing is, IF they are still attending school we limit their weekly hours of work. And of course people under age 18 working is how apprenticeship programs work.

    2. What percentage of the staff do the under 18s make up?

    Is it 7 out of 10 or 7 out of 1,000? IF they are most of the workforce, they their status as apprentices or paid interns is questionable.

  20. Mark Khaleel

    Shame on Apple... Everybody knows this is booby trap and dirty trick to destroy your competitor and get the China market....Please stop!! Don't be rotton any more.!!

  21. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    The homage that vice pays to virtue ?

    As previous commentators have noticed, the key questions are the working hours and working conditions for all workers in the plant - both 16 and 17-year-olds and those 18 or over. As Brid-Aine Parnell. citing a China Labour Watch report, noted a month ago in the Reg (, these are hardly among the best :

    «CLW said that the children were working "under the same harsh conditions" as adult workers, but were only getting 70 per cent of the pay. The group also saw discrimination at the company based on age and sex and found the employees were forced to work far too much - 11 hours a day, six days a week for 26 to 28 days a month.

    "The management are abusive during work, sometimes hitting workers on the factory floor. Any carelessness, such as slow movements, mis-operation, or late completion of team leaders’ orders could provoke the shouting of team leaders at anytime.»

    Of course, given that China Labour Watch is based in a country in which large parts of the political establishment - and the media - have declared war on organised labour in general and the regulation of working conditions in particular, reporting on «harsh conditions» in China is redolent of rampant hypocrisy. But we scarcely react to that anymore, now do we ?...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The homage that vice pays to virtue ?

      " The group... found the employees were forced to work far too much - 11 hours a day, six days a week for 26 to 28 days a month."

      I run a sweat shop. I employ grossly underpaid personnel. Sometimes I may pay less than the national minimum wage. I overwork my staff daily. In fact, I flog them to a metaphorical death. I make them work every single day of the month. I force them to work for up to 18 hours a day. Sometimes I make my staff do this for months on end with no breaks and definitely no leave - paid or unpaid. I most certainly never pay my staff sick pay. The UK government love people like me - the self-employed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The homage that vice pays to virtue ?

        Are you El Reg's editor, by any chance?

  22. Alan B

    Not surprised at the result!

    If I remember correctly, Samsung told the factory bosses that they would be visited for spot checks, and even WHEN they would be visited. That's a bit like telling a supected burglar that his house will be searched for stolen property by the police next Monday at 10.00 am. They certainly wouldn't find any stolen property, would they?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprise

    These same "inspectors" were unable to find sand in the desert. Money takes care of all issues.

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