The largest telephone program in the world, Mobile World Congress, will no longer take place this year. After the corona virus threatened to throw MWC into chaos, the GSM Association (GSMA), which is organizing the show, has now canceled it. It comes after more than a week from exhibitors and companies that are withdrawing from MWC.
Bloomberg reports that GSMA CEO John Hoffman said the corona virus outbreak has made it “impossible” to hold the event. MWC would take place in Barcelona on 24 February.
Coronavirus infections have exceeded 42,000 with the total number of deaths at more than 1,000. Most infections and deaths have been reported in Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei in China, but at least 25 countries have now reported cases. The GSMA had tried to dispel fears with increased disinfection measures on the site, advising visitors not to shake hands and even banning visitors from the province in China where the corona virus was first discovered.
The GSMA is a trade association that represents more than 1,200 companies in the mobile ecosystem, and MWC is the opportunity for thousands to come together for partnerships, deals and product launches. MWC is usually held annually in Barcelona and has a major economic impact of 492 million euros, and also generates 14,100 part-time jobs.
MWC 2020 would have a large presence from a Chinese telephone manufacturer, and all major smartphone brands in the country will appear during the show. Earlier this month, LG pulled out of MWC and ZTE canceled a planned press event due to fear of coronavirus. Ericsson, one of the largest exhibitors at MWC, too withdrew from the show, before Nvidia, Intel, Vivo, Sony, Amazon and NTT Docomo all followed and canceled. Cisco, Nokia, BT and HMD also canceled the gigs this week.
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