Seems like the chain reaction has begun with the brands slowly pulling themselves out of the largest mobile conference of the year, Mobile World Congress. The MWC 2020 is scheduled to happen in the last week of February and given the current scenario around the world about the Coronavirus infection, we might see several brands announcing their pulling out of the conference due to the scare of the infection spread.
It’s more of a humanitarian crisis than a business one, where most of the large brands showing their presence every year are from China, and with a couple announcing that they are not going to be present at the event, it might be enough of a reason for more brands to do the same, with the event scheduled about a couple of weeks from now.
The following is the official statement from the company about its withdrawal from exhibiting in the MWC 2020 event.
LG Electronics is closely monitoring the situation related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was recently declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization as the virus continues to spread outside China. With the safety of its employees, partners and customers foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain. 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.
ZTE had earlier announced that they would be entirely skipping the event, but since the company has a large base in U.S., they might be sending in the teams from the west and still are going to cancel some of its major press events including the announcement of 5G devices. The presence of the company would be minimal.
TechCrunch got an email from Amazon, in which the company has mentioned that they are going to skip the event and there will be no participation from Amazon at MWC 2020.
“due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.”
According to CNET, Samsung although has still not decided to skip the event entirely, the presence won’t be as it would be every year. “So far, many of the company’s US and Korean headquarters employees plan to cancel their trips to Europe”.
The Swedish telecom giant would have had its large presence as usual as MWC show has a lot to do with the telecommunications, but Ericsson says that they are completely pulling themselves out of the event.
“The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority,” said President and CEO of Ericsson Börje Ekholm. “We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event.”
“The GSMA regret to see Ericsson’s decision not to attend MWC Barcelona this year as they are an important player in our ecosystem,” the GSMA organization said in a statement. “We respect their decision and are reassured by their commitment that they will be at MWC Barcelona 2021 in full force and our rebook trends for next year’s event remain high. Ericsson’s cancellation will have some impact on our presence at this time and will potentially have further impact.”
Sony is the next one to pull out completely from the event.
Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020.
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 Sony press conference will now instead take place at the scheduled time of 8:30am (CET) on February 24, 2020 as a video via our official Xperia YouTube channel to share our exciting product news.
One of the largest exhibitors at the conference has announced that they would not attend the MWC 2020, after thinking that it is the only safest option.
“In the face of the public health concern from the novel coronavirus, we are placing the highest priority on protecting the health of our employees, customers and partners,” said Shuky Sheffer, CEO of Amdocs. “While we appreciate the precautionary measures put into place by the GSMA, we believe the safest option is not to attend MWC 2020 in Barcelona.”
Although the announcement is made only in Japanese for now, it means that the company believes that the impact of the virus is only spreading and considering the safety of the visitors, the company staff and the partner companies’, NTT Docomo has decided to cancel the exhibition.
“With the continued global threat of the Coronavirus, CommScope has made the decision to cancel our physical presence at Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona,” said the CommScope announcement. “This is not a decision our executive team took lightly, and although the likelihood of contracting the virus is low, we will not risk the health of our employees, nor the business impact that would result if a quarantine were ordered.”
Intel also pulled out of the event and although they didn’t mention about the device showcases, the company is certain that there won’t be anyone from Intel at MWC 2020.
“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,” said a spokesperson for Intel, in a statement.
vivo has been closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) outbreak and continuously evaluating planned activities. The health and safety of our employees and the public are our top priority. 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. We will soon introduce the APEX 2020 concept phone which we had originally planned to showcase at MWC. We will share more updates in due course. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank our partners, media friends and consumers for their understanding.
What is GSMA doing about this?
As the organizer of one of the largest exhibitions in the world in the area of mobile and technology, GSMA has been providing timely updates and developments, and the latest one from GSMA CEO was about the entry restrictions.
As per GSMA CEO John Hoffman,
- All travelers from the Hubei province will not be permitted access to the event
- All travelers who have been in China will need to demonstrate proof they have been outside of China 14 days prior to the event (passport stamp, health certificate)
- Temperature screening will be implemented
- Attendees will need to self-certify they have not been in contact with anyone infected.