MWC 2020, the world’s largest mobile communications exhibition organized by the GSMA, will no longer be held this year, and the GSMA, which organized the event, has now cancelled the event after the threat of a coronavirus outbreak threw MWC exhibitors into disarray and announced their withdrawal.
John Hoffman, chief executive of the GSMA, said the outbreak of the coronavirus had made it “impossible” for MWC 2020 to be held in Barcelona on February 24, Bloomberg reported.
The latest figures show that the number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide has exceeded 42,000, with more than 1,000 deaths. Most infections and deaths are reported in Wuhan and surrounding areas in China’s Hubei province, but at least 25 countries have now reported cases. The GSMA has tried to ease fears by adding on-site disinfection measures, advising participants not to shake hands, and banning participants from Hubei province, where the coronavirus was first discovered.
GSMA is a communications industry trading body that represents more than 1,200 companies across the mobile ecosystem, and MWC is the opportunity for thousands of people to come together to seek partnerships, deals and product launches. The MWC, which is usually held in Barcelona every year, has an economic impact of 492 million euros and created 14,100 part-time jobs.
MWC 2020 is an important propaganda position for Chinese handset makers, with almost all of the country’s major smartphone brands appearing at the show. LG pulled out of MWC earlier this month, and ZTE canceled a planned launch because of concerns that the coronavirus could affect the health of attendees. After NVIDIA, Intel, Vivo, Sony, Amazon and NTT Docomo all followed suit, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, BT and HMD were among the largest exhibitors to pull out of the show, making the MWC 2020 less meaningful.