Apple has stopped doing business with a Chinese manufacturer after a report said it had employed 74 underage workers. According to Apple’s Supplier Responsibility Report, which was released by the company Thursday, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics was employing workers under the age of 16.

“Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16 — a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ,” the company says in the report.

Apple has now lost its spot as the most valuable publicly traded company, one year after it first firmly overtook ExxonMobil. Even though it announced a record number of iPhone and iPad sales in its last quarter earnings, its stock price has fallen over 12 percent.

Apple says it is working hard to improve labor conditions at the factories of its Chinese contractors. It said it also discovered that one of the region’s labor agencies had conspired with the manufacturer, providing children to them and helping forge age-verification documents. Apple said in its report that it alerted the provincial government, which fined the agency and suspended its business license.

“The children were returned to their families, and PZ was required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return,” Apple says in the report

Source: abcnews