Samsung Electronics sent a team today to inspect a Chinese supplier accused of using child labour.
The claims were made Monday by China Labor Watch, which said seven children under the age of 16 — and perhaps many more — were working at HEG Electronics’ plant at Huizhou.
The plant assembles cell phones, DVD players, portable music players and stereo equipment for South Korea-based Samsung.
New York-based CLW, a group set up to pressure corporations to improve conditions for workers, says it carried out three investigations during June and July 2012 and found instances not only of child labour but also of exploitation of students.
"Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG’s working conditions this year," the company said in a news release, "but found no irregularities on those occasions."
"Given the report," it said, "we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface."
CLW said it found the seven children "working in the same department (at HEG) as our investigators. This suggests that child labour is a common practice in the factory."
"The number of underage workers throughout the factory is unknown," it continued, "because our investigators had limited contact with workers in other departments. But the company has clearly violated Chinese labour laws."
"These children were working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but were paid only 70 per cent of the wages when compared with the formal employees. Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury."
CLW estimated that there may have been 50 to 100 children working at HEG, with the youngest being 14 years old.
It said its research indicated that student workers make up as much as 80 per cent of the factory workforce.
CLW accused HEG of having employees work 11-hour days, including as much as five hours of forced overtime, six days per week and from 26 to 28 days per month.
"There are extremely strict punishments, and the workers are frequently fined," it said, adding that "night shift workers are only given time to eat one meal during the 11-hour work shift. The normal meal break is 30-40 minutes long."
It also alleged working conditions are dangerous and injuries common.
HEG Electronics, according to its website, is also a supplier for Motorola and LG.
After Samsung announced it would inspect the plant, CLW warned Samsung that HEG would evacuate its child workers and said that inspectors may need to "carry out in-depth interviews and thorough investigations, such as examining the number of the working positions in the factory to see if there is a sudden shortage of workers."
It said it has not contacted Chinese government agencies because it only wants the children to be able to return to school.
Previously, CLW has also claimed that there are problems with Apple Inc.'s Chinese suppliers, including an explosion in December in which it said 61 workers were injured.
Its latest report said conditions at HEG are "well below" those at Apple’s suppliers.
And in 2010, CLW accused Foxconn Technology Group of running a sweatshop in Taiwan where conditions were so bad that they led to a number of suicides by workers.
Foxconn assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple. It has denied the charges.
4.8-Inch Super AMOLED Display
The screen is huge, up from 4.3 inches on the Galaxy S II. A 4.8 inch screen makes it one of the largest displays on a flagship phone there is. Compare with HTC's One X (4.7 inches), the Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx (4.3 inches), and Apple's iPhone 4S (3.5 inches). The resolution is 1280x720.
Samsung introduces 'S Voice' on the Galaxy S III. To wake the phone up and activate the voice sensor, you simply say "Hi Galaxy!" and the phone wakes up; no need to push a button. Other voice commands, in addition to the stock ones in the Google Voice Actions catalogue: Using your voice, you can launch the camera and take a photo, turn the volume up and down, snooze the alarm (say "Snooze" as your alarm is going off -- dangerous!), and send texts and emails.
If you're writing a text to someone, and then you raise the phone to your ear, the GS3 launches the telephone app and automatically calls the person you were texting.
The Galaxy S III comes with an NFC chip that allows you to "bump" information like photos or video to other Galaxy S III owners by touching phones together, using a combination of the NFC technology and Wi-Fi Direct. With All-Share Cast, you can beam your screen to any DLNA-compatible television; All-Share Cast also allows you to share your screen onto anyone else's smartphone for document collaboration.
Pop Up Play
"Pop up play" will allow you to play a video anywhere on the screen while also performing other tasks, like checking your email or responding to texts. You can make the video window as large or small as you want. Here, you can see a YouTube video playing toward the bottom of the screen while a demonstrator prepares to search Google.
The Galaxy S III's 8 megapixel camera comes with burst photography: Holding down the shutter will take twenty photos in a row; you can then choose the best photo and the phone will automatically erase the other 19. A similar function exists on the HTC One line of phones. An alternate function: The Burst camera can take 8 photos in a row and then automatically choose the best one, if you're too indecisive to choose on your own.
Buddy Photo Share
The photography software comes with smart facial recognition: When you take a picture of a friend, it can recognize their face and will prompt you to send that photo to that person's phone or email address.
Essentially an eye recognition technology, the GS3 can sense when you are and are not looking it: When you are looking at your screen, the display will stay illuminated; when you stop looking at your phone, the display goes dark to save power. The feature can be toggled on and off, if you prefer to just let your screen time out.
Here's the first commercial for the Galaxy S III. At least, we think it's advertising the Galaxy S III. It might also be advertising a soap opera or Zach Braff film of some kind.