Mobile World Congress Is Canceled After Vendors Bail on Coronavirus Fears

Mobile World Congress cancelled due to coronavirus

This follows cancellations by major exhibitors, including AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Intel, Nokia, Sony and Vodafone.

The Barcelona city council has said there will be neither cancellation nor delays to the Mobile World Congress (BMWC), due to start on 24 February, despite concerns over the coronavirus crisis and a cascade of cancellations from tech giants, EURACTIV's partner EuroEFE reports.

"With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has canceled 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 said in the statement. However, the coronavirus outbreak and fear of the illness spreading through the show's venue prompted numerous leading electronics vendors, including LG, Amazon, Intel, and Nvidia, to cancel their attendance. All the companies cited concerns for the safety of both staff and visitors.

Hoffman stated that although GSMA had considered a scaled-down event, the plan was discarded after all the buyers had indicated they would not attend the fair. The organiser of the Embedded World said that discussions would be held on this issue during Thursday.

He stated that while no mass gathering is ever risk-free - with the potential for food poisoning, injuries or building collapse - most events "can continue if the proper measures can be applied".

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"The impact on small companies who have invested a disproportionate amount of their budgets and time on this event should not be underestimated", said Geoff Blaber, an analyst with market research firm CCS Insight.

The company said "the health and well-being of employees was a primary focus" and that canceling its involvement was a "prudent decision".

On Wednesday, the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) convened a virtual meeting of its board, consisting of 25 industry bosses, to discuss its members' options, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Thousands of companies exhibit their latest innovations, giving a huge lift to the local economy.

Spain's vice president, Carmen Calvo, said there was "no public health reason" to call off the show.

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