Update: GSMA will hold a meeting on February 14 to decide whether to go ahead with MWC 2020 or cancel the event as major tech companies pull out of the show due to coronavirus, reported Spanish daily La Vanguardia.
The Coronavirus outbreak, which began in China, continues to affect the tech industry worldwide as major companies like Ericsson, ZTE, Sony, LG, Amazon, Intel, Nvidia have said they are pulling out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, one of the largest mobile shows globally. MWC, which is held annually in Barcelona, Spain in February was attended by over 100,000 people last year from around 200 countries. MWC 2020 will be held from February 24 to February 27.
Even as some big names have pulled out of the global event, GSMA, which organises it, said in a statement that it will host the show as planned. The organisation has, however, laid out preventive and security measures that have been put in place for those visiting from China as well as other attendees as well.
Coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Coronavirus has claimed more than 910 lives so far and over 40,000 cases have been confirmed around the world. We take a look at a list of all tech companies who have pulled out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 due to coronavirus outbreak so far:
HMD Global is the latest to withdraw from the MWC 2020. “MWC Barcelona has always been a key event in our annual calendar and we were very excited to showcase our new products to our partners, customers, media and fans. However, the health and safety of our employees, customers, and stakeholders is our highest priority,” HMD Global said in a statement.
“We believe the prudent decision is to cancel our participation at Mobile World Congress and want to express our sincere thanks to the GSMA and other authorities for their tireless efforts to address the challenges resulting from Covid-19, and they have our full support as they move forward.”
Vivo has also pull out of MWC 2020 citing the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) outbreak. “Based on the present situation, we have decided to withdraw from our debut at MWC 2020 and other related events later this month in Barcelona, Spain,” Vivo said in a statement.
Vivo was said to showcase its APEX 2020 concept phone at the mobile show, which according to reports will feature under-display selfie camera and a near bezel-less display with high screen-to-body ratio. However, the company has not shared details of when it will unveil the device.
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Sony is another company that has pulled out of MWC due to the coronavirus outbreak. “As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.” Sony said in a statement.
For those interested, Sony’s press conference will continue to take place at 8:30 am CET on February 24, 2020 online via its official Xperia YouTube channel where the company is expected to unveil a new flagship smartphone with Snapdragon 865 as well as a mid-range phone as well.
Ericsson is one of the biggest exhibitors to withdraw from MWC. The company, citing concerns over health and safety of employees and customers, said in a statement that the decision of withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020 came after an extensive internal risk assessment.
“Ericsson appreciates that GSMA have done everything they can to control the risk. However, as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors,” Ericsson said in its statement.
GSMA also issued a statement saying that Ericsson’s withdrawal will potentially have further impact this time. “Ericsson’s cancellation will have some impact on our presence at this time and will potentially have further impact.” Even as Ericsson withdraws from MWC, the company is hosting local events, called “Ericsson Unboxed” where it will showcase the demos that were to be showcased at the event at its booths.
Chinese mobile manufacturer ZTE cancelled its February 25 press conference at MWC, though the company confirmed to The Verge that rest of its planned activities will go on as planned at its booths. “The ZTE Devices Press conference scheduled on February 25, which is just one of multiple planned activities, was cancelled. A wide variety of new 5G devices will be demonstrated at the ZTE booth during MWC 2020 as planned,” ZTE told the website in an email.
This means that ZTE will continue to host the rest of its booths at MWC, where it will showcase 5G end-to-end solutions as well as wide variety of 5G devices, the company said in a statement. At the February 25 event, ZTE was speculated to unveil its new 5G smartphone in its Axon series along with a new mid-range Blade device.
LG issued a statement last week regarding its withdrawal from MWC to ensure the safety of its employees, partners and customers. “This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders.”
At MWC 2020, LG was expected to launch its detachable dual screen smartphone called the LG V60 ThinQ with Snapdragon 865 processor. Following the withdrawal from the event, LG will host separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products, though it has not given out an exact timeline so far. LG V60 ThinQ will succeed last year’s V50 ThinQ, which sports a similar detachable screen technology and was unveiled at MWC 2019.
Amazon, Intel, Nvidia, Amdocs
Other tech companies that have confirmed their withdrawal from MWC include Amazon, Intel, Nvidia and Amdocs. The companies have cited safety concerns. Amazon told TechCrunch that Amazon will not participate or exhibit at the tech show due to continued concerns over coronavirus.
Intel said in a statement to VentureBeat, “The safety and wellbeing of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year’s Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution. We are grateful to the GSMA for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future Mobile World Congress events.”
Nvidia confirmed it will not send its employees to MWC 2020 given public health risks around the coronavirus. “MWC Barcelona is one of the world’s most important technology conferences. We’ve been looking forward to sharing our work in AI, 5G and vRAN with the industry. We regret not attending, but believe this is the right decision.” Software and services provider Amdocs has pulled out of MWC as well to ensure the health and safety of its employees, customers and partners.
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