Mobile World Congress 2020 is officially canceled over Coronavirus concerns. As first reported by Bloomberg (and confirmed in a statement by the GSMA), the world's biggest mobile conference was set to start on Feb 24, less than two weeks before the conference organizer GSMA chose to pull the plug.
The cancellation comes after weeks of high-profile companies pulling out of the event because of health and safety concerns. Nvidia, LG, Sony, Amazon and Intel are just a handful of the big names that withdrew from the event prior to its official cancellation. Only a few major companies remained, including Huawei and Lenovo.
The death toll of Coronavirus reached 1,113 in China and the confirmed cases rose to 44,653 as of Tuesday, Feb 12.
“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled 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 CEO John Hoffman wrote in a statement.
"The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision. The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions. Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.”
As companies abandoned the event, the spotlight on the GSMA became brighter. The organization, comprised of hundreds of mobile operators, had increased its efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus by adding on-site medical personnel, creating an online awareness campaign, and even installing temperature scanners.
Attracting more than 100,000 people from around the world, MWC 2020 is the largest mobile show around. While the focus is mostly on smartphones, several PC makers unveil new laptops and tablets each year. Lenovo was among the few companies still slated to attend the event before the cancellation.