Published: Wed, March 25, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

MWC 2020 Cancelled Over Coronavirus Outbreak

MWC 2020 Cancelled Over Coronavirus Outbreak

Organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will decide on Wednesday whether to scrap the Barcelona event, sources tell Reuters news agency, after a handful of major telecom companies made a decision to give the conference a pass over coronavirus fears.

But earlier this week, Amazon, Sony, LG Electronics, Ericsson, Facebook, and chipmakers Intel and Nvidia said they would not attend the conference.

Although most of the confirmed infections - 44,687 at the time of writing - are in mainland China, 28 countries now have reported cases, and with more than 100,000 global attendees expected to descend on MWC this year, including over 6000 from China, many tech companies felt it would irresponsible to send their staff to the event.

It also comes just days after the GSMA assured participants that MWC Barcelona would go ahead as planned.

The GSMA has banned attendees from China's Hubei Province, where the coronavirus outbreak began, and required others to prove that they had been outside the country for at least two weeks prior to the event. "Its cancellation will, no doubt, result in losses for vendors who had big plans at the event".

It has been reported that the GSMA will make a decision this Friday to determine if this year's MWC will be canceled.

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The event, which is the telecom industry's biggest get-together, is scheduled to take place from February 24 to 27.

Organizers of the world's biggest mobile technology fair are pulling the plug over worries about the viral outbreak from China. At this year's event, 5G connectivity was expected to be one of the major focal points.

Spanish labor unions said that the show was called off due to the panic of the major technological companies.

MWC Barcelona serves as "a catalyst to facilitate the industry's momentum", said Bryan Ma, vice-president of client devices research at IDC.

Many people had already reserved hotel rooms and booked plane tickets to the events and exhibitors started to prepare booths, and it will have a serious economic impact on Barcelona businesses, but public health should be the priority.

"Many suppliers, including those from China, leverage MWC to connect with customers from around the world", said Ma.

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