Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest mobile phone trade show, has been cancelled due to concerns surrounding the growing Wuhan coronavirus epidemic. MWC 2020 was scheduled to take place between February 24th and 27th in Barcelona, Spain.
The GSM Association (GSMA), the organizers of MWC, on Wednesday said the coronavirus outbreak has made it “impossible for the GSMA to hold the event”.
The following statement was released by the CEO of the GSMA, John Hoffman:
With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event.
The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision.
The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions.
Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.
Over the past couple of weeks, companies have been cancelling their MWC or pre-MWC events amidst fears over the coronavirus. Major companies including Amazon, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, HMD, Intel, LG, Nokia, NTT Docomo, Vivo, Sony and Sprint have already pulled out of MWC 2020.
The cancellation of the MWC 2020 event comes as a huge blow to the mobile industry.
Nokia who is not attending the event wrote that “while the health and safety of our employees is our absolute priority, we also recognize that we have a responsibility to the industry and our customers.
“We believe the prudent decision is to cancel our participation at Mobile World Congress. Thanks to the GSMA, the governments of China and Spain as well as Catalonia’s Generalitat, and many others who have worked tirelessly to address the challenges resulting from the novel coronavirus.”
A spokesperson for Facebook said, “Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees won’t be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus. We will continue to collaborate with the GSMA and our partners and thank them for their efforts.”
The Coronavirus that originated in the Wuhan district in China has been declared as a ‘public health emergency’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The worldwide death toll due to the virus has crossed 1,300 and the number of confirmed cases to more than 60,000.