With increasing reports of more and more people around the world being infected with coronavirus, individuals have started taking extra-precautionary steps towards their everyday activities, especially in and around areas concerning China.
The world’s biggest smartphone conference of the year, Mobile World Congress is no longer being conducted this year. The GSMA, which is the organisation behind MWC, announced officially in a statement on Wednesday that due to concerns surrounding coronavirus, the show will now be cancelled.
MWC Cancelled Over Concerns of Coronavirus
The world’s largest mobile trade show Mobile World Congress, MWC was just announced to be cancelled on Wednesday, via an official statement released by its organizing body, the GSM Association (GSMA).
GSMA CEO John Hoffman said the coronavirus outbreak has made it “impossible” to hold the event. MWC was scheduled to take place in Barcelona between February 24th and 27th. MWC 2020 was set to feature a big Chinese phone maker presence, with all of the country’s major smartphone brands set to appear at the show.
However, due to global concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, the show is cancelled.
In fact, LG pulled out of MWC earlier this month and ZTE too cancelled the plans for attending the event over coronavirus fears. Ericsson, one of the largest exhibitors at MWC, also withdrew, following Nvidia, Intel, Vivo, Sony, Amazon and NTT Docomo took a step back. Cisco, Nokia, BT, and HMD too cancelled their appearances this week.
The GSMA had previously announced in a Feb 9 press release that the MWC would go on as planned, even if some of the biggest companies had pulled out. It cited that there still were 2,800 other exhibitors attending the event.
More on MWC and How Has Coronavirus Affected It
Coronavirus infections have exceeded 42,000 with the total number of deaths at more than 1,000. Most infections and deaths have been reported in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei Province in China, but at least 25 countries have now reported cases.
The GSMA had tried to allay fears with increased disinfection measures on site, recommending attendees don’t shake hands and even ban on visitors traveling from the province in China where coronavirus was first discovered.
The GSMA is an industry trade body that represents more than 1,200 companies across the mobile ecosystem, and MWC is the chance for thousands to gather for partnerships, deals, and product launches.
MWC is usually held annually in Barcelona, and it has a big economic impact of 492 million euros, also generating 14,100 part-time jobs.
MWC originally started as a trade show for carriers. Big telecom companies would meet up with hardware vendors and discuss the evolution of telecommunications networks. More recently, phone manufacturers started attending the show to talk with telecom companies and unveil their latest products.
Big tech companies, such as Facebook and Amazon, have also had a formal presence in recent years as they have developed important ties with the mobile industry.