Japanese wireless carrier NTT Docomo, Sony Corp and California-based chip giant Intel Corp pulled out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Monday due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Amazon, South Korea’s LG Electronics, Swedish equipment maker Ericsson and US chipmaker Nvidia have already withdrawn from MWC, which had quite 100,000 visitors and upwards of two ,400 exhibitors in 2019.
MWC, thanks to happen on Feb 24-27, is that the telecom industry’s biggest annual gathering, with companies spending millions on stands and hospitality to fill their order books.
MWC: Tech companies showcase new gadgets in Barcelona
Tech companies from across the planet gather at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to showcase their latest gadgets.
Barcelona’s economy got a lift of around 470 million euros ($515 million) last year from the event, its organiser the GSMA estimated. The GSMA had no immediate comment.
Gremi d’Hotels de Barcelona, the city’s main hotels association, said coronavirus concerns had resulted in cancellations but it had been too early to quantify the impact on overall bookings.
And the region’s digital policy councillor, Jordi Puignero, told local station RAC1 the Catalan regional government was “taking measures in order that everything proceeds as normal”.
“There is not any reason to not attend,” he added.
Sources on the brink of exhibitors said that if participants cancel, they might need to bear the value . The GSMA, an industry association representing quite 750 operators and 400 companies, would only be liable if it calls off the event.
Sony and NTT said in statements that they had withdrawn after taking into consideration the security of consumers , partners and staff. Sony said its launch event would be held via video.
NTT didn’t immediately confirm whether its chief executive, Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, would continue as a panel speaker.
US-Israeli software provider Amdocs also pulled out of the event on Monday.
“While we appreciate the precautionary measures put into place by the (organizer) GSMA, we believe the safest option isn’t to attend MWC 2020 in Barcelona,” Amdocs’ CEO Shuky Sheffer said during a statement.
Chinese company TCL said it had been cancelling a press event but would still attend MWC and showcase new devices, while Norway’s Telenor said it had been getting to cut the amount of staff attending also as reducing its programme.
No Hand Shakes
GSMA said on Sunday that no-one from China’s Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak began, would be allowed to attend, while visitors from China must prove they need been outside the country for a minimum of fortnight before the event.
These measures increase earlier actions aimed toward preventing the spread of the virus, including changing microphones between speakers and advising all attendees to not greet .
The price from coronavirus in China has risen above 900, with quite 40,000 people infected. quite twenty-four countries are grappling with the virus, which has infected quite 330 people outside China.
In 2019, some 6% of Mobile World Congress attendees were from China, GSMA’s post-congress report showed. Most were from Europe, around 64%, as were about 45% of the exhibitors.
China’s Huawei and ZTE have said they’re going to attend, ordering China-based staff to self-isolate before MWC and drafting in European staff to hide for those unable to attend from China.