Bengaluru, NFAPost News Service: The Coronavirus scare has finally crashed the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2020) event at Barcelona after several big names like Sony, LG and Amazon dropped out.
The worst fears have come true as GSMA has officially announced the cancellation of the world’s largest mobile trade show, which was scheduled from 24 Feb to 27 Feb.
It is a big disappointment to tech enthusiasts and MWC fans alike as the annual trade show potentially drew 100,000 attendees from across 200 countries every year. Here is the official statement about the cancellation from GSMA who is the event organiser:
“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,” GSMA CEO John Hoffman told Bloomberg and the Financial Times in the recent reports.
Here is the full press release from GSMA detailing its decision to cancel the event:
“Since the first edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has convened the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem.
“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. Further updates from the GSMA, are on our website and can be found on www.mwcbarcelona.com.”
LG was the first to withdraw from participating in the event citing concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic. Later, Nvidia and Ericsson had joined Sony and Amazon in the drop-outs list.
After several deliberations and talks with other registered attendees, GSMA had announced some safety measures in its Coronavirus-related email on Sunday, reassuring the participants:
All travellers from the Hubei province will not be permitted access to the event
MWC Barcelona, Four Years From Now (4YFN), xside and YoMo
All travellers 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.
However, the email seemed to have a negative impact on its recipients as scores of top companies, including the consumer electronics and telecom bigwigs, pulled out of the trade show.
The final list of top companies who cancelled their attendance includes Sony, Ericsson, Amazon, Facebook, HMD, Intel, Nokia, LG, Deutsche Telecom, NTT Docomo and Sprint.
GSMA’s lawyers had ensured every possible safety measure was in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus at the trade show, but they seemed to have made little impact in convincing the attendees.
GSMA has received a big financial blow to its investment over securing exhibit space, accommodation and other facilities at the venue. The sudden cancellation comes as a big shock as GSMA had an official meeting scheduled on Friday to discuss further steps with its registered partners and attendees.
The latest report from World Health Organisation (WHO) is not encouraging either as more than 1,000 people are reportedly dead in mainland China with over 43,000 Coronavirus cases confirmed across the world till now.