The most important and biggest trade show in the mobile world, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) is set to kick off in Barcelona Spain on February 24-27, 2020. However, major tech companies, Amazon and Sony have pulled out of the said congress due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Following their move are LG, ZTE, Nvidia and Ericsson which have recently pulled out of the MWC due to the same reasons.
In a statement that Amazon released through TechCrunch, they advised that they will withdraw their participation and exhibits at the MWC 2020 due to issues concerning the spread of the 2019-nCoV.
Sony, on the other hand, posted a statement in their website saying that they have been in close monitoring of the progression novel coronavirus outbreak, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared as a global emergency on January 30. In addition, Sony said that the well being and safety of its customers is their utmost concern; thus, they have decided to withdraw from the trade event in Barcelona.
While Amazon did not have a consumer-focusing presence at the MWC historically, Sony usually releases its latest mobile devices in the congress. This year Sony was supposed to launch its latest Xperia phone in Barcelona.
However, Sony advised its customers not to worry because they will still be holding a Press Conference on February 24 to launch the newest Xperia and reveal news about its products through the Xperia Youtube channel, 8:30 AM (CET).
On the other hand, TLC also released a statement that they will also cancel their press event during the MWC but emphasized that they will still participate in other activities in MWC including the release of their products in their booth.
Despite major mobile companies pulling out of the event, the organizer Groupe System Mobile (GSM) or more commonly known as Global System for Mobile Communications, advised that they will still go through with MWC 2020. According to the GSMA, there will be increased medical support and disinfection measures put out during the event. There will also be a "no handshake policy" and speakers will be subjected to a new protocol regarding microphone changes.
The GSM Association has also released a statement that no travelers from Hubei Province, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak will be allowed to enter the event. While those who have traveled in China will need to provide proof that they have left the country 14 days before coming to Barcelona.
Major companies have dropped out of the MWC 2020 wherein most of these are based in China. Thus, a rather large delegation is expected from China, however, given the circumstances that is unlikely to happen.
With two weeks to go before the event, it's still unknown if other companies will follow the lead of Sony and Amazon and pull out of the event as well. If this happens, this may result in MWC 2020 not being as huge as it was in the previous years. Regardless of the assurance of the organizers and the precautions that they have taken to prevent nCoV from affecting the event, it already has.