Mobile World Congress Is Canceled After Vendors Bail on Coronavirus Fears

Ruben Fields
February 13, 2020

GSMA chief executive John Hoffman said: "The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible".

The MWC event is a major trade show, where numerous mobile device manufacturers announce new smartphones and other hardware. In a press release, GSMA indicated it would continue producing future events, including MWC Barcelona 2021.

The affiliation mentioned, "Our sympathies are with those affected by the Corona virus at the moment in China and around the world".

The forum was set to be held in Barcelona from February 24-27.

Some of the major exhibitors who earlier announced their non-participation in this year's MWC were Sony, LG, Ericsson, Amazon, Nokia, Facebook, and Vivo.

A statement from the GSMA said the organizers came to the conclusion that the show was "impossible" to hold after recent events.

Other factors that will determine if the outbreak affects USA tech events are how well information is communicated about the virus and how false or misinformation is suppressed, he said.

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Bloomberg reported that it's the first time in MWC's 33-year history that organizers have called off the event. At the time of this writing, more than 1,000 people have died.

The show normally represents a huge source of revenue for hotels, restaurants and taxi companies, and was to generate 473 million euros and more than 14,000 part-time jobs for the local economy.

It said it would always support Barcelona as host city of the Mobile World Congress.

JUST IN: The 2020 Mobile World Congress has been canceled by GSMA because of #coronavirus fears.

Spain's health minister Salvador Illa declined to declare a public emergency saying there was "no public health reason" to take further measures. Even with MWC taking precautions such as banning attendees from the province where the coronavirus originated, it has still done little to stop the influx of cancellations.

The cancellation of the marquee event is the latest sign that the virus outbreak, now in its third month, is disrupting economic activity not only within China but around the world.

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