Sci-tech

Mobile World Congress Canceled After Coronavirus Scares Off Major Companies

As an additional measure, the company has taken the decision to withdraw from exhibiting at MWC 2020 in Barcelona and at Embedded World in Nuremberg later this month. However, the coronavirus outbreak and fear of the illness spreading through the show's venue prompted numerous leading electronics vendors, including LG, Amazon, Intel, and Nvidia, to cancel their attendance.

HMD Global is the latest among manufacturers to announce it will no longer be attending one of the world's biggest technology events.

Several sources said the GSMA's board, consisting of 25 industry bosses, was holding a "virtual" meeting to consider its options.

The GSMA's decision not to push through with the event, which was to be held from February 24 to 27, has come as the coronavirus has so far infected more than 44,000 people and killed more than 1,100 in mainland China, with cases reported in more than 20 other countries.

The CEO said that travel and managing the event would be hard at a time of global health emergency.

Barcelona's Mayor Ada Colau said on Wednesday that she wanted to send a "message of calm", insisting the city was ready to host the event. HMD Global said that the health and safety of its employees, partners, customers, and media is its first priority hence the reason for canceling its participation at MWC 2020.

However, organisers said it had become "impossible" to hold it this year due to "global concern" around the outbreak of the virus - now formally known as Covid-19.

Still, industry heads say that a gathering of so many worldwide guests is just too risky.

"To bring people together and connect them: That is what Telekom stands for".

Nokia said Wednesday it had chose to withdraw from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain "after a full assessment of the risks related to a fast-moving situation".

The fate of this year's MWC may hinge on the terms under which any events insurance taken out by the GSMA would pay out.

"Where there is no ban and businesses make their own commercial decision, I can not see the market paying out", said Edel Ryan, who is on the Special Risks team at broker Marsh JLT Specialty. The departures of Nokia and Ericsson had left China's Huawei, a major sponsor of the fair, as the only remaining major network gear maker still planning to attend. The event's organizer, GSMA, recently issued a new statement about precautions it is taking, including a ban on visitors from Hubei province, where the epidemic is believed to have begun.

An operator cleans up a window at the entrance of the Fira Gran Via, venue for the MWC Barcelona trade show.



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