Update, February 10, 2020 (9:55 AM ET): We’ve added TCL to our list of companies that have pulled out of MWC 2020, coming shortly after Sony and Amazon did the same. Scroll down for the full list as well as official measures to be taken at MWC.
MWC 2020 is still going to go forward in late February in Barcelona, Spain. However, several companies have announced they will not be attending the trade show due to the current coronavirus threat.
The GSMA, which organizes MWC, says that they’ll be taking extra precautions due to the virus outbreak. These precautions include an increase in cleaning and disinfecting areas of the trade show (including catering areas, surfaces, handrails, bathrooms, entrances/exits, etc). It will also have an increase in medical support, more signage to alert attendees on the health threat, and even asking people to adopt a “no handshake” policy while at MWC 2020.
The organizers also issued a new statement on February 9, saying that travelers from Hubei province (where the outbreak originated) will be banned from the event. Furthermore, travelers who have recently been in China will need to show that they’ve been outside China for 14 days prior to MWC. Other measures include temperature screening and calling for attendees to “self-certify” that they haven’t been in contact with any infected people.
Here are all the companies that have confirmed plans to skip MWC 2020 (for the most part).
Amazon is one of the bigger names to skip MWC, revealing that it won’t be exhibiting or participating in the expo at all.
“Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020,” the company was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The telecommunications giant announced on February 7 that it will be pulling out of MWC 2020 due to the coronavirus threat.
Ericsson cited its “responsibility for the health and safety of employees, customers, and other stakeholders” as the primary reason for withdrawing. Instead of attending MWC, the company will hold “Ericsson Unboxed” events instead, which will be mini-events taking place “closer to customers.” Ericsson did not give any further details on where or when these events might take place.
In a press release sent to media outlets, LG announced that, due to safety concerns of the coronavirus outbreak on the company’s employees and the general public, it has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020. LG said its decision will “prevent needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which most health experts have advised.” It added that it plans to reveal its 2020 smartphone plans in separate events in the near future.
Silicon giant Nvidia is known more for its graphics cards than its mobile technology, but it’s a frequent MWC exhibitor. Unfortunately, it won’t be attending this year’s edition.
“We’ve informed GSMA, the organizers of MWC Barcelona, that we won’t be sending our employees to this year’s event,” the company said in a news release. “Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern.”
The company confirmed that it was due to present its work on AI, 5G, and vRAN in Barcelona.
The Japanese giant announced its intention to withdraw from MWC 2020 on Monday February 10, citing the coronavirus threat as well.
“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,” the company stated in a news release.
Sony was scheduled to hold a launch event in Barcelona on February 24, but this will now be an online event on the same day at 8:30AM CET.
Also due to health concerns regarding the current coronavirus breakout, TCL canceled its MWC 2020 press event, which was scheduled for February 22. None of TCL’s other MWC activities are impacted by this decision though. The company will still hold its scheduled pre-briefings at its private offsite showroom and at the TCL booth in the Fira Gran Via where it will announce and showcase its upcoming mobile handsets February 24-27.
“TCL is grateful to the GSMA for their most recent guidance and update regarding the potential impact of the 2019-nCoV virus on MWC 2020 and will continue to follow their updates, monitor this situation closely, and share further updates as necessary,” said a TCL spokesperson.
In a statement sent to The Verge, ZTE also confirmed that it will not be holding a press event during MWC 2020. Part of the reason for this decision, according to a company spokesperson, was because some ZTE employees were already contending with visa and travel delays to Barcelona. The spokesperson added that ZTE tends “to be an overly courteous company, and simply don’t want to make people uncomfortable.”
ZTE did clarify afterward though, confirming to Android Authority that while it won’t be having a press event, it will maintain a booth presence.
Furthermore, it announced several measures it will be taking for staff. These measures include senior ZTE leaders being isolated in Europe for at least two weeks before MWC, and all employees undergoing two weeks of self-isolation before departing for Barcelona.
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