Mobile World Congress 2020, which was due to take place on February 24–28 in Barcelona, has been canceled due to growing concerns surrounding the current coronavirus outbreak.
There was a question of whether embedded world 2020, which is scheduled for February 25-27 in Barcelona, would also be canceled, with the same coronavirus concerns cited. However, on February 13, NürnbergMesse as the organizer of embedded world 2020, announced its intentions to take place as planned, despite concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Final Straw: Major Suppliers Withdraw
It all started last week when both LG and ZTE pulled out of MWC with just three weeks until the conference.
In a statement, LG said that “with the safety of its employees and general public foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain.”
“This decision will prevent needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which most health experts have advised.”
Until two days ago, February 11, plans for both conferences were on track until several other vendors including Nvidia, Intel, Vivo, Sony, and Amazon all canceled their appearances.
Today, the situation grew even bleaker when Nokia, STMicroelectronics (STM), Deutsche Telekom (DT), British Telecom (BT), and Vodafone all announced that they would not be attending MWC after “…carefully monitoring the news on the coronavirus [outbreak]…”.
ST also announced at the same time that it was pulling out of embedded world.
A photo of the embedded world 2019 show floor. Image used courtesy of embedded world newsroom.
China’s Place at the International Shows
With confirmed coronavirus cases nearing the mid-10,000s and the total number of deaths now exceeding four figures, and several new cases being reported daily, vendors have been pushed to take precautionary measures to protect their staff given just how internationally diverse trade shows like MWC and embedded world are.
This year, MWC was expected to feature the largest Chinese contingent ever seen at the show, with the country’s major smartphone brands all planning to present their latest innovations. As we know, China’s dominance in this market is ever-growing and so it is only natural that more and more Chinese vendors will be appearing at future shows.
GSMA and NürnbergMesse Speak Out
In a statement, John Hoffman, the CEO of GSMA – the organizer of MWC – said that the coronavirus outbreak had made it “impossible” for the event to go ahead.
“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.”
While a statement from embedded world’s organizers, NürnbergMesse, confirmed that the show was still planned to take place, assuring that previous shows of similar size were held successfully in Nürnberg since the end of January. They also stated that preventative measures arranged by them showed excellent results for guests at the Nürnberg exhibition centre.
NürnbergMesse further stated it intends to closely observe the current meeting by EU health ministers in Brussels. which is to determine whether any measures should be implemented relating to coronavirus infection and will respond accordingly to its results and recommendations.