Korean electronics giant Samsung has temporarily severed ties with a Chinese supplier after it found evidence of child labour at the supplier's facilities.
The company said it conducted an investigation into its supplier, Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co Ltd, immediately after US activist group China Labor Watch accused the China-based firm of hiring children.
The group's report alleged that several of the seasonal workers in the Dongguan plant were minors, and they work 11 hours a day, without weekly leave and overtime pay.
"Following the investigation, Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidences of suspected child labour at the worksite. The decision was made in accordance with Samsung's zero tolerance policy on child labour," the company said in a statement.
The smartphone market leader routinely conducts inspections at its suppliers in China, which allegedly has rising levels of child labour.
Samsung added that its previous investigations into the supplier could not find any cases of child labour. Samsung has conducted audits on three occasions since 2013, with the latest one ending on 25 June.
It found evidences of illegal hiring process that took place on 29 June. Following the allegations, the Chinese authorities are also probing Dongguan Shinyang.
"If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier in accordance with its zero tolerance policy on child labour," the company added.
"Furthermore, Samsung will strengthen its hiring process not only at its production facilities but also at its suppliers to prevent such case from reoccurring."
Samsung has previously faced criticism for its poor working conditions and child labour. In 2012, it was accused of partnering with suppliers who allegedly employed children. It was also accused of asking employees to work overtime at some of its own factories.
In 2013, Brazilian authorities sued the company for allegedly violating labour laws in the Latin American country.
"Samsung's social responsibility reports are just advertisement," China Labor Watch's executive director Li Qiang said earlier in a statement.
"Samsung has put its energy into audits and the production of these reports, but these things are meant to appease investors and don't have any real value for workers. Samsung's monitoring system is ineffective and has failed to bring about improvements for workers."