MWC under the influence of outbreak: Sponsors withdraw from Hubei’s ban on participants ‘not shaking hands’

At present, it appears that the impact of the new corona virus outbreak on the technology industry is not small. In half a month, the technology industry will focus on mobile world congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, the world’s largest and most important trade show in mobile communications, the global mobile technology development vane. Each year at MWC, major manufacturers announce their latest equipment, attracting more than 100,000 people from nearly 200 countries and territories.

In 2020, the new corona virus outbreak disrupted the supply chain, which is critical to the development of smartphones, and many countries have previously imposed travel bans on China. Since most of MWC’s large exhibitors are from Asia, many giants, including LG, Ericsson, Nvidia and Amazon, have announced their retirement from MWC for health reasons, while MWC sponsor GSMA (Global Mobile Communications Systems Association) has introduced a number of measures to contain and reduce the spread of the virus.

Tech companies announce their retirement from MWC

MWC under the influence of outbreak: Sponsors withdraw from Hubei's ban on participants 'not shaking hands'

Photo Source: MWC Official Website Owner: MWC Official Website

The GSMA stated that, to date, the progress of MWC registration has not been affected and will be held as scheduled from 24 to 27 February local time at the fira Gran Via, Fira Montjuc and La Farga L’Hospitalet venues, including Yo Yo Mo and 4YFN Innovation Series. According to MWC’s official website, more than 2,400 vendors are expected to attend, with more than 100,000 participants.

In fact, from an economic point of view, MWC will not be easily eliminated – the GSMA has said that MWC 2020 will create 141,000 part-time jobs and generate 492 million euros in revenue for Barcelona.

At the same time, GSMA”s membership includes nearly 800 mobile operators in 220 countries and more than 230 businesses in the broader mobile ecosystem, including mobile phone manufacturers, software companies, device vendors, Internet companies, and businesses in financial services, healthcare, media, transportation and utilities. (See Baidu Encyclopedia), MWC creates opportunities for cooperation, trading and product launches for thousands of companies.

Even so, as MWC approaches, international giants have announced plans to cancel their participation for health reasons:

“In view of the safety of its employees, partners and customers, LG has decided to withdraw from MWC 2020, which will be held in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of this month,” LG said in a statement posted on its website.

“The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders is our primary concern,” Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm said in a statement. Ericsson looks forward to showcasing the latest products on MWC, but exit ingests is the most responsible business decision”;

“Nvidia has always looked forward to sharing with the industry our progress on AI, 5G, but ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our top priority,” Nvidia said. Given the public health risks posed by coronaviruses, we regret not being able to participate in MWC, but believe it was the right decision”;

Amazon had planned to showcase the latest products and services from AWS, its cloud computing division, on the first day of MWC. But on February 9, local time, Amazon said it would withdraw from MWC 2020 due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the continuing development of the outbreak. Amazon is now the fourth company to announce its retirement, after South Korea’s LG Electronics, Sweden’s Ericsson and U.S. Infinity.

It’s worth noting that Nvidia is the main sponsor of this MWC, having planned 10 meetings and roundtables around artificial intelligence with the GSMA and creating the AI Edge Innovation Center to attract exhibitors from AI, 5G and Edge Computing. It is not clear whether Nvidia will continue to support the conferences and exhibitions, but without Nvidia it could be difficult to achieve.

In addition, ZTE announced its withdrawal from MWC2020, according tomedia The Verge local time on February 5. ZTE, however, said it had only canceled the press conference and said on Twitter that it would attend MWC as planned to showcase its 5G technology and terminals.

MWC under the influence of outbreak: Sponsors withdraw from Hubei's ban on participants 'not shaking hands'

Huawei also reportedly said it would attend MWC and ask employees to isolate themselves before the event to ensure they were not at risk of infection and to enlist European staff to help. In addition, Qualcomm, Lenovo, Motorola, Xiaomi and other companies have so far said they will attend as planned.

Meanwhile, Samsung is considering whether to participate in this MWC. Many employees at Samsung’s U.S. and South Korean headquarters plan to cancel trips to Europe, according to people familiar with the matter. Samsung still plans to attend the show as of February 7, and it looks likely that its plans could change at any time.

GSMA takes steps to curb and reduce virus transmission

In the face of the announcement by several tech giants to withdraw from MWC, the GSMA has expressed its understanding and respect for their decision and is actively in contact with the participating companies.

It is reported that the GSMA has taken a series of measures to curb and reduce the spread of the virus and protect the health of all participants – to enhance the cleaning and disinfection of high-density areas, to strengthen medical support and protection in the venues, to raise awareness of prevention through information sharing and on-site marking on-line, and to provide cleaning and disinfection supplies for public use Training of all employees and partners in personal preventive measures, improving their awareness of prevention, etc.

In recent days, gsma has added several new measures, including a free 24-hour safety and medical service hotline for all participants during the conference, hygiene guides and advice to hotels, public and private transport, restaurants, etc., and the strengthening of first aid facilities at the exhibition site. At the same time, the GSMA strongly recommends that participants implement the “no handshake principle” during the meeting.

About 5,000 to 6,000 Chinese participate in MWC each year, accounting for about 5% to 6% of visitors. Based on this, GSMA CEO John Hoffman announced the following restrictions for exhibitors:

All Hubei tourists are not allowed to exhibit;

All visitors to China are required to pass a passport stamp or health certificate, etc., to prove that they have been outside China for more than 14 days;

The participants will be tested for temperature;

Exhibitors need to prove that they have not been exposed to anyone infected with the new coronavirus in the near future.

In addition, the Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, pledged on 5 February local time that the Government would liaise closely with the relevant agencies and health authorities and initiate an ongoing coordination mechanism during MWC 2020 to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus.

At the same time, the GSMA said it would continue to strengthen preventive measures to protect the health of participants, customers and staff.

Technology companies affected by the outbreak

In addition to MWC, many major trade fairs, industry conferences, and conferences at home and abroad have recently been delayed or scaled down due to travel restrictions and concerns about the spread of the virus, potentially affecting multibillion-dollar transactions. Huawei officials have said, for example, that the Huawei Developer Conference 2020 will be postponed and will be broadcast live online, while the Xiaomi 10 launch, scheduled for February 13, will also be webcast.

In fact, domestic and foreign technology companies are deeply affected by the outbreak , which has had a serious impact on the manufacture and shipment of technology products , and is expected to be more or less short of accessories such as smartphones , headsets and cars , as Canalys mobile analyst Nicole Peng puts it :

Companies like Lenovo, which relies on parts makers based in Hubei, have been hardest hit, and companies like Huawei, which operate in Guangdong, are not as bad as they are, but no company has been able to resume plant operations at 100 per cent capacity.

In response to the outbreak, a number of foreign technology companies, including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Tesla and Google, have closed their offices, stores and factories in China (including Google’ offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan) and advised foreign workers not to travel to China for any reason in the near future.

It can be seen that the general negative impact of this new type of pneumonia is incalculable, I hope the outbreak can be brought under control as soon as possible.